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Why West is so uncomfortable with rising India and happy to sponsor its enemies

Source : Firstpost

Why West is so uncomfortable with rising India and happy to sponsor its enemiesWhy West is so uncomfortable with rising India and happy to sponsor its enemies
Prime Minister Narendra Modi giving Independence Day speech at Red Fort with the Tricolour flying high with pride on Independence Day symbolizing a Rising and Resurgent India (File Photo)

Indians and their policymakers are finally affirming in public utterances and sentiment that we inhabit a mostly friendless world. This existential condition is nothing new in international relations except for one possible historical exception of a Greek city-state that accepted its own destruction during the Peloponnesian wars to remain faithful to its treaty obligations. India has adversaries, ‘frenemies’ and, at best, well-wishers. Its only genuine well-wisher is clearly Vietnam, but it will be able to do little in the event of India getting into serious trouble during a neighbourhood war.

India’s adversaries are easy to identify and include virtually all its smaller neighbours, who quietly cheer its every discomfiture. The obvious major adversaries are on the West and north and joined at the hip as a single threat, increasingly integrated militarily and one now virtually a vassal of the other.

More troubling is India’s ‘frenemies’, who include much of Europe and North America, who have uses for India but no real camaraderie or commitment towards it. The evident bonhomie with France and Israel is essentially opportunistic and has much to do with the cost of research-intensive weapons production, with India a prized buyer to reduce the average costs of production by facilitating increased output.

The relationship with Russia and the USSR earlier has proved the most durable but was the result of a low-cost Russian commitment that kept India out of rival camps, but some sentimental attachment has grown by virtue of the sheer length and depth of the engagement. It is now degrading, worryingly, thanks to the inept US determination to cement a Sino-Russian engagement though, if well-managed, India could still derive benefit from its relationship with Russia.

The mixed signals of hostility and cooperation emanating from the US towards India need explanation despite an Indian inclination to misread them by erroneously differentiating between US societal actors and the actual policymaking elite. In recent decades, Indian policymakers have been overawed by the US, mindful of a need for its supposed support in the conflict with China and fearful of the consequences of provoking US enmity. The latter is proving well-founded after the US demonstrated its willingness to embark on total economic warfare against Russia and easily obliged its allies to comply with injunctions to join it.

As a digression, it might be noted that the Indian ambassador in Washington is the most influential foreign policy-maker of India rather than the more senior, by protocol, Foreign Secretary, highlighting the significance of India-US relations in its international relations. The deplorable unchecked US media campaign against India, accompanied by the mobilisation of its social scientists, often of Indian origin, to harass and denounce it does not stem from some sort of unfortunate misunderstanding that can be remedied by thoughtful engagement with them. Unlike India, the media and university social science are in essence an adjunct of state policy in the West, despite outward appearances to the contrary. They rarely diverge from a durable established national policy consensus, however partisan these institutions might appear in relation to domestic political rivalries.

Yet, US policy towards India remains apparently perplexing to many Indians in its two contrary dimensions of cooperation and simultaneous undermining of the legitimacy of the Indian state. The range of economic, military and strategic areas of India-US engagement are impressive but the genuineness of the US commitment towards India is controverted by the wholesale erroneous attacks against the Indian state by quasi government US agencies. They question India’s very legitimacy with blatant fabrications and insultingly deny any credence to the integrity of Indian societal, political and judicial processes. The reasons for this supposed contradiction in US policy towards Indians are not far to seek.

From the very outset, India sought to chart an independent foreign policy after Independence, studiously distancing itself from the US and its Western allies though, it might be said, not always wisely. By contrast, Pakistan, joined their anti-communist alliance with alacrity in the mid-1950s. Despite India being handed over to a preferred leader by the departing British colonial authority, it established extensive ties with the USSR, even when Joseph Stalin was alive. The relationship only became weightier over time, reaching a pinnacle during the India-Pakistan war of 1971 that led to the creation of Bangladesh against incensed US opposition. Even at the time of India’s military defeat at the hands of China it was troubled when Duncan Sandys, the British Secretary of State for the Commonwealth, and Averell Harriman, an US Assistant Secretary of State, visited in December 1962 to offer military assistance and interceded between India and Pakistan.

Jawaharlal Nehru resentfully described them as behaving like imperial viceroys. Over subsequent decades, many other episodes of US hostility towards India can be recounted, including thwarting India’s attempt to acquire supercomputers, the denial of cryogenic technology for India’s space programme by none other than Joe Biden, as well as cutting India off from the GPS during the Kargil war. In addition, for many decades, the US was Pakistan’s principal arms supplier, also pretty much openly helping it to acquire nuclear weapons, in conjunction with China and some US European allies.

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President Joe Biden speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington. (AP)

Despite all appearances to the contrary, and the dissimulation by important segments of India’s policymaking and think tank elite, India-US relations remain troubled. Indeed, a major Indian departure from earlier policy postures has become evident with the willingness of senior Indian policymakers to retaliate with adverse observations against US accusations of Indian impropriety and alleged violations of human rights of its minorities. These US accusations and robust Indian statements to repudiate them have become shrill while the Russian invasion of the Ukraine has unfolded.

Much to the chagrin of the US, India has refused to specifically condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, recognising the provocation originating in Washington. On the contrary, India is allegedly aiding Russia’s war effort by purchasing oil from it, denounced by the US as augmenting its finances for war-making. There are also signals that both US Democrat and Republican politicians are making harsh comments privately about Indian violations of human rights although without citing evidence for them, signifying a wish to destabilise India’s elected government. Such US comments provide encouragement and justification to the Islamist violence recently observed in Indian cities, by according them moral and political legitimacy.

It can reasonably be inferred that this kind of US intervention is not inadvertent and it would welcome a change in government in India by precipitating a crisis of confidence and legitimacy to influence electoral outcomes. Why would US policy towards Indians be so puzzlingly contrary when it is an essential component of regional mobilisation in its historic rivalry with China? In fact, the US is serenely insouciant about extremely serious real human rights violations occurring in ‘friendly’ countries and has even sponsored them to combat Leftist insurgencies, as it did during Pinochet’s Chile and elsewhere in Latin America.

The reason for belligerent US disquiet with India is blindingly obvious and extremely consequential, even if shockingly unrecognised by India’s elite and professionals, whose green card-holder relatives are often enjoying an American dream reserved for a privileged few there. The reality of US policy and conduct have been revealed once again during the Ukrainian war, which it cynically precipitated, totally indifferent to the resulting horrendous impact on innumerable countries, including its own citizens and that of its NATO allies. The Ukrainian war was also completely irresponsibly initiated while the unprecedented global economic, social and health disruption owing to the Covid pandemic continues, for which covert US collaboration with China on bio-warfare is apparently responsible.

The Ukrainian fiasco reveals the utterly supine behaviour of US NATO allies who have had no say whatsoever on US Ukraine policy even though it has destabilised the region and effectively destroyed much of Ukraine itself. It was former German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who had fully anticipated in some detail the hugely negative consequences for Germany of a war in the Ukraine. However, her successors could do nothing to halt the US proxy war that is causing a serious energy and cost of living crisis across Europe and the world. The shameless total British support for US Ukraine policy is a further indicator of the lack of autonomy of its allies in relation to US preferences regardless of cost to themselves. In the British case, all caution has been thrown to the winds although the country is virtually prostrate owing to the impact of the Ukrainian crisis. The British capitulation is in the hope of signing a trade treaty with the US in the aftermath of the huge economic setback it is experiencing owing to Brexit.

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File image of former German chancellor Angela Merkel. (News18)

This is where the unforgivable crime of India, in the unsparing eyes of the US, becomes abundantly clear. India persistently seeks to assert policy autonomy, as it has done repeatedly in the past as well, even in adverse circumstances. Even the generally supine UPA government told the US that it would only impose sanctions on Iran approved by the UN Security Council and not unilaterally by the US. India’s foreign policy record during the 1971 India-Pakistan war and both before and since has remained largely self-willed, constantly seeking to assert sovereign prerogatives.

Political analysts and historians confirm this pattern of Indian foreign and domestic policy conduct and how it provokes revulsion in US policy circles. Herein lies the rub. The US rightly assumes that once India becomes a much more significant economic player, perhaps reaching the much-touted $10 trillion GDP target, its dependence on the US will be significantly reduced and it can no longer be relied on to even remain broadly in the Western camp or indeed support its core interests. On the contrary, there is every possibility that such an empowered India will prompt China to reach an understanding with it, thereby removing India from the wider equation of Sino-American geopolitical global rivalry.

Without India, current US-India Pacific policy will be impossible to sustain and India itself may also look askance at aspects of it. The compelling contemporary challenge of the rise of China that alarms the US and its European allies too will become a desperate existential threat to them if India’s role in the region no longer converges with their fundamental aims. The world that came into being in the fifteenth century, with Christopher Columbus reaching the north American coast, will likely come to a close. This is how important India is to the future of America and Europe and the shape of the world they will have to contend with if India charts its own self-defined course, as it almost certainly will, without reference to vital Western interests.

All underlying US and European policies towards India are ultimately motivated by the fear outlined above, which is not even remote given that, at an eight percent annual growth rate, India will indeed become a $10 trillion GDP economy in fourteen years. The calculated US and European response to this deadly threat to the primacy of Europeans in the world order owing to India’ empowered position within it is potentially catastrophic for the India that is striving to become Bharat. The response is one of the oldest strategies of the imperialist playbook to control other societies and is well-tried and tested. It entails sponsoring and helping a minority to come to power in a country and which will, as a result, be dependent on outside succour to survive and therefore consent to the policies of these supportive third parties outside.

In relation to India, the policy of the US and countries like Britain, with its long experience of chicanery in India and infinite knowledge of the compromised psyche of Indians, and others like Germany, are awaiting the demographic transformation in India that will permanently and, with constitutional legitimacy, exclude the majority from political power and end India’s assertion of sovereign national prerogatives. This is the apparently outwardly puzzling rationale for the constant Western harassment of India for alleged minority rights violations and its incitement of Muslims to intransigence and violence. The leaders of India’s majority community might find this depiction a far-fetched prospect, but that might be regarded as an upshot of their willful self-delusion, which guarantees their own destruction.

Together with hard data, the extant experience of West Bengal and Kerala as well as the North East, which is of course more unambiguous given its state of perpetual dissent and revolt, point to the direction in which India is headed. The experience of West Bengal illustrates that only under thirty percent of the minority electorate is required to achieve complete electoral domination and political power. It only requires, in addition, the aid of political parties like the TMC, SP and AAP to offer some subsidiary support. In fact, the demographic data is uncertain as to whether the total Indian minority population is 15 percent or 18-20 per cent and even the estimated numbers for essentially illegal Bangladeshi Muslim migrants alone, quoted by senior public figures, vary between 30 and 40 million. Once such minorities capture the government apparatus in a border state, their numbers grow rapidly by legitimating the status of illegal migrants and additional population movements across the international border as well. They are promptly provided ration, voter identity and Aadhaar cards as well as passports and this phenomenon is already routine across India.

Some basic arithmetic confirms the unstoppably exponential growth of absolute numbers of the minority Muslim population, in relation to India’s total population base, once a particular numerical threshold has been crossed. In fact, the only state really needing to be captured electorally in order to wield power nationally is Uttar Pradesh. Primacy in Uttar Pradesh will virtually assure a parliamentary majority in conjunction with the aforesaid political parties, with only the silent acquiescence of southern Dravidianists necessary to rule. It might seem an improbable and socially inconsequential scenario in the air-conditioned comfort of New Delhi, but it was a terrifying corporeal reality in May 2021 in much of West Bengal for hapless BJP voters and for Sangh activists in Kerala, who are murdered regularly; and now spreading to other states.

These brutal tasters will become infinitely worse if the Lok Sabha is fully in the hands of a minority-dominated national government. Such a danger came close to preliminary realisation in 2014, with the Congress’ proposal for a Communal Violence Bill, which would presuppose the majority community as guilty until adjudication decides otherwise, and then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s assertion that minorities had the ‘first claim to national resources’.

One final corollary that might be highlighted is the ample evidence in easily available published sources, on the extent of US and European, especially Anglo-French, collaboration with radical Islam that dates back, in the British case, to the nineteenth century. In fact, there is in circulation the proceedings, under the aegis of the Delhi-based ORF, of an Indo-Russian conference on the Western involvement with Islamic terrorism in the contemporary world. Radical Islam was also an ally of Nazi Germany and indeed Tojo’s wartime Japan and the Anglo-American and French involvement with it to undermine their enemies continues unceasingly to this day — used against Arab nationalists as well. Much of this cynical skullduggery endures, with US and Israeli patronage of the beheading and enslaving ISIS and the murderous Al Qaeda still intact.

In this sordid equation, the global church plays a pivotal justificatory ideological role in the background, as evidenced in their protests on behalf of minority rights in India that regularly surface in the US and the UK. Pakistan plays a critical role in Anglo-American covert operations in India too since it has never itself been regarded as a real threat to Western interests, only an easily purchased recalcitrant, because it retains myriad assets on the ground within India. In this context, the date of 2047 identified by the PFI for the Islamic takeover of India might be regarded as unduly pessimistic since the historic demographic and resulting political transformation of India appear more imminent.



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