In­dia: ‘Swing power’ of Asia?

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS - Sul­tan M Hali

use US fa­cil­i­ties. Manohar Par­rikar may be croak­ing with joy and re­joic­ing at the agree­ment but the fact re­mains that In­dia has blown its own sovereignty. In­dia’s found­ing fa­thers had prided them­selves in join­ing the non-aligned move­ment and reaped ben­e­fits by act­ing neu­tral dur­ing the US-Soviet Cold War era. By jump­ing squarely into the US camp, con­clud­ing the nu­clear deal and the Lo­gis­tic Sup­port Agree­ment, In­dia has cho­sen sides for its short term ben­e­fit. The US is cur­rently the sole su­per power and it will never per­mit In­dia to come at par with it. The US law­mak­ers jeal­ously guard their sta­tus. They are wary of China, which in their cal­cu­lus is a ris­ing eco­nomic and mil­i­tary power now. Giv­ing In­dia lever­age, al­lows the US to use In­dia as a bul­wark against China as well as en­gage it in a proxy war with the Chi­nese.

The US on the one hand eyes the rich and lu­cra­tive In­dian mar­ket for its Mil­i­tary In­dus­trial Com­plex as well as its civil­ian goods and ser­vices, while on the other, In­dia can help sup­port the ur­gent needs of the US mil­i­tary, and its strate­gic plans for al­ter­na­tive lo­gis­tic sup­port lines for pro­tect­ing oil sup­plies and pipe­lines and to counter the grow­ing mar­itime might of China. In­dia on the other in­stance is dream­ing of be­com­ing a “Swing Power” in Asia and es­tab­lish its hege­mony. China has re­acted sharply to the US-In­dian Lo­gis­tic Sup­port Agree­ment. Dur­ing the visit of In­dian De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar to Bei­jing, is­sue was for­mally taken up by China. Indo-US Lo­gis­tic Sup­port Agree­ment is detri­men­tal to peace in re­gion Email: sm_hali@ya­ with se­ri­ous im­pli­ca­tions for In­dia’s neigh­bour­ing coun­tries. While an­a­lysts in Pakistan may be crit­i­cal of Indo-US strate­gic agree­ment, it is im­por­tant to con­sider what In­dian an­a­lysts are say­ing about it. In­dian opin­ion builders, who are pa­tri­otic and knowl­edge­able, opine that it is tan­ta­mount to In­dia com­pro­mis­ing its sovereignty. In­dia will be­come a client state of US & will be used to per­form jan­i­to­rial tasks on be­half of its master and once its use­ful­ness di­min­ishes, it will be dumped in garbage heap.

Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, In­dian an­a­lysts are cog­nizant of the fact that Rus­sia has been a long time ally of In­dia. Most In­dian weapon sys­tems orig­i­nate from Rus­sia. To dump Rus­sia at the be­hest of the USA would be im­pru­dent. Ad­di­tion­ally, there is an in­ten­si­fied cam­paign be­ing con­ducted by In­dian Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs to ap­pease both Rus­sia and China. In­dia is on the verge of be­ing granted full mem­ber­ship of the cher­ished Shang­hai Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion (SCO). Should In­dia aban­don decades of hard work to at­tain this sin­gu­lar hon­our on the be­hest of the US?

China has re­cently made over­tures to­wards In­dia to set­tle its ter­ri­to­rial disputes as well as in­vest in In­dian de­vel­op­ment projects. In­dia should not risk ig­nit­ing Chi­nese ire only be­cause its master the US de­sires so. China is a neigh­bor of In­dia and is ex­tend­ing the olive branch while the US is thou­sands of miles away and will not be able to come to In­dia’s aid if the sit­u­a­tion so mer­its. While Shushma Suwaraj was tasked to en­thrall the Rus­sian, In­dia is try­ing to ca­jole China through De­fence Min­is­ter and NSA Do­val’s vis­its to al­lay Chi­nese con­cerns. These vis­its are naught but fa­mil­iar In­dian in­trigues spe­cially in the con­text of China.

In­dia is al­ready on the watch list of China be­cause Ajit Do­val, In­dian Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sor has been clan­des­tinely col­lud­ing with the ETIM and Daesh in a bid to desta­bi­lize China’s Xin­jiang Prov­ince and in­cit­ing the Uyghurs to in­sur­gency. The re­cent ar­rest of Com­man­der Kulb­hoshan Ya­dav, a high level RAW op­er­a­tive and ter­ror leader proves be­yond a shadow of doubt that In­dia per­haps with the nexus of the US is hell bent upon sab­o­tag­ing the China Pakistan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC) and the port of Gawadar.

Kulb­hoshan Ya­dav, who has been singing like a ca­nary has al­ready ad­mit­ted to RAW es­tab­lish­ing a spe­cial cell with $ 300 mil­lion to scut­tle CPEC. In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi did not hide his ab­hor­rence to the CPEC and raised a flimsy ex­cuse that since part of it was to pass through dis­puted ter­ri­tory in Azad Kash­mir, China must stop its con­struc­tion. The Chi­nese Pres­i­dent gave a be­fit­ting re­sponse, when he ap­prised the In­dian Prime Min­is­ter that the CPEC is a com­mer­cial ven­ture and not a mil­i­tary one. In­dia can no longer run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. It should take a leaf out of China’s books and be­come a team player. One can­not ig­nite neigh­bour­hood and ex­pect that flames would not scorch it too. The quest for a peace­ful re­gion should be in ev­ery­one’s in­ter­est. —The writer is re­tired PAF Group Cap­tain and a TV talk show host.

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