American Resistance To Empire

Big Insurers Bailing-Out On Obamacare’s Healthcare Exchanges

Now we know the real reason Aetna bailed on Obamacare

business insider aus

obama loretta lynch President Barack Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch at the White House. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

On Monday night, news broke that one of the five largest insurers in the US, Aetna, was leaving 70% of the counties in which it offers insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s public healthcare exchanges.

The move was seen as a huge blow to the future of the act, making Aetna the third large insurer, after United Healthcare and Humana, to significantly reduce its Obamacare business.

Aetna cited the large losses that the company has incurred from the exchange business — $200 million in the second quarter alone — when explaining its decision to roll back its business.

These statements, however, appeared to be a dramatic turnaround from the company’s first-quarter earnings call in April, when CEO Mark Bertolini said the firm planned to stay in the exchanges and that the company was “in a very good place to make this a sustainable program.”

Now, however, it appears a large reason for the shift in tone was the Department of Justice’s lawsuit to block Aetna’s merger with rival Humana.

A July letter, acquired by The Huffington Post, outlined Aetna’s thinking on the public exchanges if the deal with Humana were blocked. The letter from Bertolini to the DOJ outlined the effect of a possible merger on its Affordable Care Act business.

For one thing, Bertolini notes that the cost savings from the Humana deal would allow the companies to further expand coverage into parts of the US.

“As we add new territories, given the additional startup costs of each new territory, we will incur additional losses,” the letter said. “Our ability to withstand these losses is dependent on our achieving anticipated synergies in the Humana acquisition.”

Additionally, the letter seemed to foretell the move on Monday. Here’s the key passage (emphasis added):

“Our analysis to date makes clear that if the deal were challenged and/or blocked we would need to take immediate actions to mitigate public exchange and ACA small group losses. Specifically, if the DOJ sues to enjoin the transaction, we will immediately take action to reduce our 2017 exchange footprint.

“We currently plan, as part of our strategy following the acquisition, to expand from 15 states in 2016 to 20 states in 2017. However, if we are in the midst of litigation over the Humana transaction, given the risks described above, we will not be able to expand to the five additional states.

“In addition, we would also withdraw from at least five additional states where generating a market return would take too long for us to justify, given the costs associated with a potential breakup of the transaction. In other words, instead of expanding to 20 states next year, we would reduce our presence to no more than 10 states.”

In other words, the cost of fighting the DOJ would make Aetna unable to sustain the losses incurred from the public exchanges.

According to a letter from the DOJ provided by Aetna, the DOJ asked the company what the effect would be on the firm’s Affordable Care Act business if the merger were not completed. Thus, Aetna responded with its letter.

A spokesperson for Aetna said the decision to roll back the coverage was not because of the DOJ’s lawsuit, but rather realizing the full details of the losses. The statement from the spokesperson reads, in part:

“In the time since we submitted our written response to DOJ and provided a courtesy copy to [the Department of Health and Human Services], we gained full visibility into our second quarter individual public exchange results, which — similar to other participants on the public exchanges — showed a significant deterioration. That deterioration, and not the DOJ challenge to our Humana transaction, is ultimately what drove us to announce the narrowing of our public exchange presence for the 2017 plan year.

“If the Humana transaction is eventually blocked, which we don’t believe it will be, the underlying logic of our written response to DOJ would still apply with regard to the public exchanges where we will participate in 2017.”

In the original letter from Aetna to the DOJ, Bertolini said that if the company lost the lawsuit and the deal were eventually scuttled, Aetna would drop its remaining Affordable Care Act business and leave the public exchanges entirely.

The DOJ declined to comment.

The DOJ blocked the merger between Aetna and Humana, along with the merger of fellow big-five insurers Anthem and Cigna, on the grounds that consolidating the industry would lead to lower competition and higher costs for consumers.

“They would leave much of the multitrillion health insurance industry in the hands of just three mammoth companies, restricting competition in key markets,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said when announcing the lawsuit to block the mergers.

Typically the number of independent options available to consumers is correlated with lower costs.

“If the big five were to become the big three, not only would the bank accounts of the American people suffer, but the American people themselves,” Lynch said.

The companies countered that the merger would not affect consumers and would allow the combined firms to be more cost-efficient and sustainable.

Read the full letter from Bertolini, via The Huffington Post, here »

Modi’s Admission of Guilt In Balochistan and Gilgat

[SEE: Blinding Kashmiris and Sowing Sectarian and Anti-CPEC Tensions In Gilgat]

“I want to express my gratitude to some people — the people of Balochistan, Gilgit and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir — for the way they whole-heartedly thanked me, the way they expressed gratitude to me, the way they conveyed their goodwill to me recently,” Modi said in his speech.

Modi Sends Warning Shot to China, Pakistan on Territory Spat

Bloomberg Business


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he delivers his Independence Day speech from The Red Fort in New Delhi on Aug. 15, 2016. Photographer: Prakash Singh/AFP via Getty Images

From the sandstone walls of the 17th-century Red Fort in India’s capital, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a warning shot this week to his counterparts in Islamabad and Beijing.

Modi’s reference to disputed territories on Monday during his annual Independence Day speech — his most high-profile appearance of the year — signaled that India would become more aggressive in asserting its claims to Pakistan-controlled areas of Kashmir. The region is a key transit point in the $45 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor known as CPEC that will give Beijing access to the Arabian Sea through the port of Gwadar.

“This is a recalibration” after Modi’s overtures to Pakistan and China failed to yield results, says Harsh V. Pant, a professor of international relations at King’s College London. It’s also a message to China: “You may be investing a lot in Pakistan, and think that CPEC is a done deal, but without India’s approval you might find it difficult to follow through.”

A more vocal India threatens to raise tensions in a region rife with deep-seated historical animosity that has made South Asia one of the world’s least economically interconnected regions. Various insurgents and militant groups threaten both China’s investments in Pakistan and progress in India-controlled Kashmir, where recent violence has killed about 60 people.

While India is more likely to redouble efforts on developing transport links with Iran and Afghanistan than sabotage China-Pakistan projects, the saber-rattling may deal a setback to investor confidence in the region, according to Michael Kugelman, senior associate at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.

“The bottom line is that in a volatile region like South Asia, you don’t need actual aggressive actions to cause economic consequences,” he said. “Mere threats can have a very real effect on the economic state of play as well.”

In a bold rhetorical move on Monday, Modi overtly referred to the region of Balochistan, a resource-rich, insurgency-riven Pakistani province that is home to the strategic deep-water port of Gwadar. He also mentioned Gilgit, a Pakistan-administered region that borders China and Afghanistan — the northernmost edge of the planned economic corridor.

‘Expressed Gratitude’

“I want to express my gratitude to some people — the people of Balochistan, Gilgit and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir — for the way they whole-heartedly thanked me, the way they expressed gratitude to me, the way they conveyed their goodwill to me recently,” Modi said in his speech.

The mention of Balochistan was particularly provocative. Pakistan has long accused India of backing rebels in the region, a charge governments in New Delhi routinely denied even while they blamed Pakistan for backing militants in Kashmir. While Pakistan condemns Indian security forces in Kashmir, human rights groups have expressed concern about disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Balochistan by Pakistan’s military, intelligence and paramilitary forces.

Modi’s comments prove Pakistan’s contention that Indian intelligence agencies are “fomenting terrorism in Balochistan,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday. It also said the remarks were meant to divert attention from protests in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, where dozens of protesters have been killed in the past month.

Talks Possible

On Wednesday, in response to an invitation from Pakistan, India’s foreign secretary conveyed his willingness to travel to Islamabad for bilateral talks on cross-border terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir, according to an official with knowledge of the matter.

China has long played a role in developing parts of Kashmir in Pakistan. It helped build a highway through the region that opened in the 1970s, and recently conducted joint patrols with Pakistan in the area.

China’s foreign ministry didn’t reply to faxed questions on Modi’s comments. The ministry has repeatedly said that China hopes India and Pakistan can resolve Kashmir territorial disputes through peaceful means.

‘Not a Zero-Sum Game’

“The CPEC is not a zero-sum game where Pakistan gains and India loses,” Global Times, a state-owned Chinese newspaper, said on Tuesday. “If economic cooperation between China and Pakistan can improve infrastructure in the region, including in the Kashmir area, India will have an opportunity to expand trade routes to Central Asia.”

Modi’s remarks tap into historic grievances in a sensitive and contested part of Asia.

The dispute over Kashmir dates from the partition of the subcontinent in 1947. Like Kashmir, the Khanate of Kalat — which makes up much of modern day Balochistan — didn’t immediately choose to join India or Pakistan at the time of partition. Gilgit-Baltistan, which borders Jammu and Kashmir, is a majority Shia area in Sunni-majority Pakistan, and has in recent years seen sectarian strife.

Indian and Pakistani armies fought over Kashmir and settled into a stalemate with a de-facto border along the so-called Line of Control. In 1948, Pakistan forcibly annexed Balochistan, and its army has in recent years “crushed” several insurgencies and revolts there, according to Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former envoy to Washington.

‘Modi Has Upped The Ante’

“By speaking of human rights violations in Balochistan, Prime Minister Modi has upped the ante in India’s tense relations with Pakistan,” Haqqani wrote in an e-mail. While Modi probably hopes his comments will dissuade Pakistan from doing the same thing in Indian-controlled Kashmir, such rhetoric is only likely to “exacerbate the paranoia that has characterized Pakistan’s attitude towards India.”

Modi’s remarks are the clearest signal yet of Indian concern over Pakistan-China economic cooperation, according to Ashok Malik, head of the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation’s Neighbourhood Regional Studies Initiative.

“When a prime minister says something of this nature on Independence Day, he’s not floating a balloon,” Malik said. “It means India will use its muscle, its propaganda muscle at least, to talk about Balochistan and trouble in Balochistan.”

Afghan Taliban Splinter Group, Mullah Dadullah Front, Ends Their Rebellion

[With this move ISI/CIA, the Taliban rebellion has been brought to a close  finally putting end to the British PSYOP called the “Taliban split”(SEE: Minister’s Visit Hints at Taliban Split).  What follows for us, in so-called “reconciliation” Peace Talks, will be the last chance for “Flipping the Taliban”.]

[Pakistan Arrests Mullah Rasoul After He Outs CIA/ISI Taliban Mansour]

Taliban Splinter Faction Pledges Allegiance to Main Group



KABUL—Top members of the main Taliban splinter group that broke away last year have reversed course and pledged allegiance to the main group, despite the efforts of the Afghan government to exploit divisions in the insurgency.

The move by the splinter group’s top political deputy and a battlefield commander is another sign the insurgency is consolidating under the new leader, Maulavi Haibatullah Akhundzada, who has sought to reunite the group’s warring factions.

The Taliban announced the move back into the fold of the splinter group through a statement published on its website. The move came after talks among senior leadership figures, it said. “[They] decided following a detailed discussion to maintain the unity of the Islamic Emirate (Taliban),” the Taliban said in a statement.

The defections are expected to weaken remaining opposition to the Mullah Haibatullah, allowing the group to focus its energy and resources on fighting the U.S.-backed government.

Members of the breakaway Taliban faction didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment.

The Taliban splintered when it emerged last year that their supposed leader had died two years before and his death had been kept secret.

The Afghan government sought to exploit these divisions by paying off breakaway commanders to fight the main group, The Wall Street Journal reported in May, as part of a secret plan to sow rifts within the insurgency, according to some Afghan and coalition officials.

The breakaway faction coalesced behind Mullah Mohammad Rasool, but the splinter group is currently run by his political and military deputies, according to Afghan government officials and sources close to the Taliban. Mullah Rasool was allegedly arrested in Pakistan earlier this year, according to local news reports in Pakistan. The Pakistani government hasn’t commented on the allegation.

Mullah Rasool’s top political deputy, Mullah Baz Mohammad Haris, has now rejoined the main Taliban group along with a breakaway commander in southern Uruzgan, according to the statement by the Taliban.

“He was the strongest and most influential person in Rasool group,” said a person who maintains close contacts with both factions.

The defections are another sign the new Taliban leader, Maulavi Haibatullah Akhund, is succeeding in repairing ties within the group. The more inclusive approach marks a break from Mullah Mansour, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in May. Mullah Mansour had attempted to stamp out opposition to his leadership, after rival factions battled for control of the group.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the defections would impact Afghan government efforts to support breakaway Taliban commanders. The Afghan government has continued to deny the program existed, despite U.S. and Afghan officials as well as Afghan army sources who said they were supporting the group.

“The Afghan government doesn’t support any group of the Taliban but is eliminating all terrorists and terrorist groups engaged in terrorist activities against the state and the people of Afghanistan,” said National Security Council spokesman, Tawab Ghorzang.

The U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan said it was aware of Taliban efforts to reconcile elements within the group, but these were failing.

“We’ve seen evidence that suggests efforts to reconcile have failed and that there may be renewed fighting between the Taliban and Islamic Emirate High Council (splinter group),” spokesman Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland said. He declined to say who those efforts concerned.

Write to Jessica Donati at

“We assured safety of flight” For Russian Bombers Coming From Iran

“They informed us they were coming through” with Tu-22M3 long-range bombers, known as “Backfires” by NATO, and Su-34 tactical bombers, Garver said. “We assured safety of flight as those bombers passed through the area and toward their target and then when they passed out again”, said Army Col. Chris Garver, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.

Russia Gave US Short Notice of Syria Bombing Run from Iran

military dot com

In this frame grab from video, Russian long range bomber Tu-22M3, right, flies during a strike above an undisclosed location in Syria on Aug. 14, 2015. (Russian Defence Ministry press service photo via AP)
In this frame grab from video, Russian long range bomber Tu-22M3, right, flies during a strike above an undisclosed location in Syria on Aug. 14, 2015. (Russian Defence Ministry press service photo via AP)

Russia gave the U.S. military brief notice that its bombers were coming from a base in Iran for the first time to hit targets in Syria, an American military spokesman in Baghdad said Tuesday.

“The Russians did notify the coalition” under the memorandum of understanding on flight safety over Syria that was agreed to by the two countries, said Army Col. Chris Garver, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.

“They informed us they were coming through” with Tu-22M3 long-range bombers, known as “Backfires” by NATO, and Su-34 tactical bombers, Garver said. “We assured safety of flight as those bombers passed through the area and toward their target and then when they passed out again,” he said.

Garver declined to say how much warning the U.S. had of the Russian overflights. “We knew in time,” he said, adding that it was “not a lot of time but it was enough.”

The spokesman also declined to say whether U.S. and coalition aircraft over Iraq and Syria had to alter their own flight plans to accommodate the Russians. He repeated that the Russian route in and out “did not impact coalition operations.”

The Russian bombers took off from a base near the Iranian city of Hamedan, about 175 miles southwest of Tehran, in what was believed to be the first use of an Iranian airfield by a foreign power to bomb a third country since the Iranian revolution of 1979.Iran’s Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, said the use of the airfield was a sign of the growing strategic alliance between Russia and Iran. He said that Moscow and Tehran “enjoy strategic cooperation in the fight against terrorism in Syria and share their facilities and capacities to this end,” official state media reported.

The Russian airstrikes into Syria from Iran came as the U.S. and Russia were still at odds over a possible agreement brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry to cooperate in a campaign against ISIS in Syria.

A day before the airstrikes, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the proposed agreement would “allow us to find common ground and start fighting together for bringing peace to that territory.”

Shoigu added Russian negotiators were “in a very active stage of talks with our American colleagues” but there was no confirmation from the American side that an agreement was near.

In a video briefing from Baghdad to the Pentagon, Garver said that the Russian bombers hit targets in northern Aleppo and Idlib, and also in eastern Deir al-Zour. Garver said there was a presence of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria fighters in Deir al-Zour but not in Aleppo or Idlib. “We don’t see a concentration of ISIS in those areas,” he said.

Also in Syria, Garver confirmed that a convoy of hundreds of ISIS fighters using civilians as human shields was allowed to exit the key northeastern stronghold of Manbij, which fell last weekend to forces of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

The convoy proceeded to the north, but Garver declined to say whether it crossed the Turkish border. He said U.S. warplanes tracked the convoy but “they let the convoy continue to travel. They couldn’t engage it” because of the presence of the civilians, he said.

— Richard Sisk can be reached at

CIA’s Syrian Army Allows Over 100 ISIS Toyotas To Flee Manbij Siege

[This is exactly the same Pentagon thinking that has characterized every aspect of the so-called “war on terror”.  Why risk embarrassing ourselves trying to eliminate Islamist terrorist outfits if we end up looking bad for killing a few “too many” civilians in the process, especially if we later find-out that we needed a few radical Islamists to start a revolution or a civil war? 

CIA always prevents the complete elimination of its Islamist assets.  Beginning with Tora Bora and the epic escape of bin Laden, followed in short order by Pakistan’s application of the doctrine in every “Operation” its ISI launched to eliminate terrorists in its Tribal Region.  The evidence is all over Afghanistan today, where you see terrorist remnants of every variety of outfit, which Pakistan has claimed to have eliminated from Pakistan.  They were all chased full-circle, back into Afghanistan.  Afghanistan has always belonged to the CIA.  That is why it is in the terrible shape that it is in, because that is exactly the way they wanted it to be. 

As a result of the Afghan destabilization, India and Pakistan stand as close to all-out nuclear war as they have ever been.  Iraq and Syria remain in the same fixed, devastated condition, as well, just like the CIA wanted there also.  Now that we have Russia’s help, we have the chance to rub-out this mistake, the creation of ISIS from the remnants of al-Qaeda in Iraq (SEE:  What is the truth about ISIS? ). 

If 100 beige Toyota pick-ups were knowingly en route from Manbij to Raqqa because the CIA’s Syrian joke allowed that to happen, then that meant that there were 70.7 miles of desert to trap or scrap them in.  The civilians who might be unwillingly traveling with them WOULD be in great danger…but that WOULD NOT be our problem.]

[SEE: NUKE ISIS—save the bullets]

U.S. official: Large convoy of ISIS fighters allowed to leave Syrian city


isisAn Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighter waves a flag in Raqqa June 29, 2014.

WASHINGTON D.C. — A couple hundred vehicles of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters were allowed to leave the northern Syrian city of Manbij as U.S.-backed forces seized the town in recent days because the militants had civilians with them, according to a U.S. military official.

The official said Tuesday that some of the ISIS fighters may have already made their way into Turkey, but many are still in Syria. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Col. Chris Garver, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS, told Pentagon reporters that the decision to let the convoy leave the city was made by commanders of the Syrian Democratic Forces. He said there were civilians in each of the vehicles, and the military wanted to avoid casualties. He added that he doesn’t know how many of the civilians may have been in the cars voluntarily, but some were likely hostages.

It’s not clear if the militants left under a pre-arranged agreement between the SDF and the ISIS fighters. During the offensive, the SDF had offered fighters a safe route to leave the town but they refused.

ISIS has repeatedly used civilians as human shields, including in recent battles in Iraq.

“They kept throwing civilians to basically walk into the line of fire, trying to get them shot to use that potentially as propaganda, we think,” said Garver.

Garver said the coalition has been tracking and watching the vehicles as they headed north, but he declined to say where they were.

Syrian Democratic Forces seized control of the city on Friday and are now clearing the neighborhoods, looking for militants and bombs. Garver said that a “significant number” of explosive devices were left in the city by IS insurgents as they retreated.

Manbij is a key victory for the SDF and the coalition, because it lies on a major supply route between the Turkish border and the city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the ISIS group’s self-styled caliphate.

PM Modi Discards India’s Western Media Immunity To Admit Meddling in Balochistan

[SEE:  The Stunning Investigative Story on the Birth of Balochistan Liberation Army–Mar 1, 2005]

[Pakistan Claims It Arrested 6 Afghan Agents In Balochistan Pakistan Names Afghan Generals As “Master Handlers” of NDS Agents Captured In Balochistan]

Omar Abdullah“6 protestors dead in Kashmir in 24 hours but WTH let’s go sort out Balochistan since we are doing such a good job in J&K at the moment!” Omar Abdullah Former Chief Minister of the State of Jammu and Kashmir

Why PM Modi’s Balochistan barb changes the India-Pakistan game


Prashant Jha, New Delhi

PM Narendra Modi addresses the nation during the 70th Independence Day function at the Red Fort in New Delhi. (ARVIND YADAV/HT PHOTO)

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledged the gratitude of the people of Balochistan and Gilgit, and nodded at their struggles in his Independence Day speech on Monday, he ended a long period of shadow-boxing in India-Pakistan ties.

This is a game-changer, but its consequences are not clear just yet.

Modi’s reference to Gilgit is significant but can be understood. There is an Indian parliamentary resolution that all of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. It is, as the strategic analyst Manoj Joshi noted, based on a simple principle – ‘In a dispute, express your maximal position, rather than the one you will compromise on.’ India has, in the past, responded to reports of the presence of Chinese soldiers and workers in the region. National security adviser Ajit Doval, in 2015, spoke of India’s 106-km long border with Afghanistan – which was a reference to Gilgit-Baltistan border.

The real shift is Balochistan.

To understand the leap, let us go back to Sharm-el-Sheikh in 2009. After a meeting between the Indian and Pakistani PMs, a joint statement said that Pakistan has ‘some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas’.

Note the context. Pakistan has repeatedly accused India of supporting insurgents in Balochistan, where it has been facing a long separatist struggle. Islamabad has specifically claimed that Indian diplomats and spies in Afghanistan keep in touch and finance these militants. For Pakistan, it served three ends – it was able to pass off an internal domestic issue into an externally-backed conspiracy; it lobbied with the West to keep India out of the Afghanistan equation with this accusation; and when India pointed to its role in Kashmir, it had a ready-made response on how India is intervening in its internal affairs.

Delhi has always refuted and rubbished the allegations, and asked for proof, which Islamabad was unable to offer convincingly.

It was for this reason that the 2009 statement provoked a huge domestic backlash in India. The opposition, as well as sections of the ruling Congress, saw Sharm-el-Sheikh as a sellout. India was viewed as almost admitting that it has a role in Balochistan. Parliament erupted, and questions were asked why a reference to Balochistan was included in a joint statement. This eroded India’s moral high ground. The government back-tracked and Manmohan Singh’s negotiating hand with Pakistan weakened, almost irreversibly, to the extent that he could not even visit the country despite his deep desire to do so.

Now, look at what Modi has done.

He has, in some senses, embraced the perception pushed by Pakistan, converted it from an accusation to a possible lever, and claimed a role for India in Balochistan.

The thinking is clear – if Pakistan can use internal Indian vulnerabilities (read Kashmir), India can use internal Pakistani vulnerabilities. If Pakistan can internationalise what India considers its problem, India can internationalise what Pakistan thinks falls solely within in its remit. If Pakistan can build a domestic political opinion on human rights excesses in Kashmir, India can build a domestic political opinion on human rights excesses in Balochistan. If Pakistan can cultivate a Kashmiri separatist constituency within India, India can cultivate a separatist Baloch constituency in Pakistan.

There is a big difference so far.

Pakistan has offered tangible financial, moral, political support to Kashmiri separatists. It has, as India says, ‘exported terror’. Whether Indian support will remain confined to a few utterances, or whether it will grow to more tangible forms, is to be seen. What these forms take will be as crucial to India’s reputation. This will also be a test of Indian commitment and give us a sense of whether Modi’s statement is merely rhetorical or there is more to it.

Needless to say, the form of Indian support will determine the Pakistani reaction and the subsequent geopolitical games. There is an additional subtext to it. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will pass through both Balochistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Modi’s statement is meant as much for Beijing as for Islamabad. It will not remain quiet as India ups its game in Balochistan.

What’s, as significant as the statement, is the occasion on which it was made. If it was merely a tactical manoeuvre, India could have left it to a mid-level diplomat, or an official foreign ministry statement or even a pronouncement by a cabinet minister. The fact that India’s Prime Minister has spoken of Balochistan – and from the ramparts of the Red Fort – signifies a level of political sanction and commitment that has not been seen so far on the issue. It also means that once Delhi has taken the plunge, it cannot hop out at will.

A new game is about to commence.