New Dynamics Are In Place
India cannot fathom the new ground realities
By Moin Ansari
As Tomas Kunh said a long time ago “The paradigm has shifted, and when the paradigm shifts, everything goes back to zero”. The world watched (pun intended) aghast as the Swiss watch making industry was decimated by an electronic watch marketed by TI and Casio. Ironically the electronic watch was invented by the Swiss themselves. Within years 60% of the Swiss labor force had to scramble to find non-existent jobs.
In another paradigm shift the books on international relations had to be rewritten and map makers had to work overtime to paint the new realities. The planet watched the demise of the USSR and the liberation of Central Asia Republics and the unity of Germany. The profound change dissolved the dreams of Catherine the Great of reaching the warm waters of the Arabian Sea. Pakistan as a new custodian of those waters breathed a sigh of relief.
The impending US withdrawal and its “coopetition” with China is another paradigm shift which transforms South and Central Asia. Pakistan has been building its relationship with China for decades. It was a gift born out of the blunders of Nehru in Kashmir and Tibet. If Nehru had not triggered belligerency with Pakistan and China in 1948, the world would have been different. However he and other politicians in Delhi had an opportunity to build Asia–they tried to build Akhand Bharat–aggravating each and every one of their neighbors. Today Bharat faces a foreign policy Armageddon–but it is one of its own making. It cannot see Pakistan. It wants to devour Bangladesh, Sikkim and Bhutan. It wants to colonize Afghanistan. It wants to step on Lanka. It wants to bamboozle Nepal. The chickens have come home to roost. In an opportunistic move to please Israel and America it betrayed Iran, and that betrayal will cost it Afghanistan. All have teamed up and want nothing to do with Bharat. Even Afghans in the Kabul palaces want Delhi out. The sad thing is in instigating trouble in all its neighbors, it has rocked the boat internally. Bharat faces colossal issues within its boundaries.
The Times of India is one of the most vocal critics of anything Pakistani. This week the chagrin has been more vitriolic than usual. Perhaps it is chagrined by the Pakistani deftness in Afghanistan, or it is pure hatred of anything to do with Islamabad–one can never tell. This much is certain, the entire Bharati (aka India) media is in a tizzy fit about Bharat’s diminished role and imminent eviction from Pakistan. South block and the entire Bharati diplomatic corps are seeing the world change in front of them, and they can’t seem to do anything about it. Mad dashes to Riyadh, Tehran, and Beijing have come to naught.
Delhi seems to represent a rejectionist front all on its own. No other country has joined the “stay the course in Afghanistan”. The world seems to have rejected the Delhi notion of “no compromise in Afghanistan”, no “talks with Pakistan”, and no “Nuclear deals with China”.
The Planet wants a Pan-Afghan solution, certainly the Afghans want it. The neighbors want it, and Pakistan desires it. Pakistan and Afghanistan are natural partners with a built in mechanisms to unite. What’s more important is that the US, the UK and Europe have bought into it and just want a face saving exit from Kabul.
Delhi’s think tanks are beyond panic on the NSGs silence, and the American wink wink nod nod whispered acquiescence of China’s policy of helping Pakistan. Many analysts have actually said that President Obama has asked China to help Pakistan in energy and other fields. Some international think tanks also say that the US and China have held a “Malta” type of conference and allocated areas of influence–and Asia and Africa falls in the Chinese lap, while Europe and the Americas fall under American influences. In other words Bernard Lewis’s map of the Confucian power is being implemented.
The Bharati media is stung not by the Nuclear deal, but by the fact that the NSG simply ignored Delhi. Delhi pulled all the stops in its opposition to the Pakistan-China deal–and ended up in knots. Neither the US, nor any of the European countries seem to be concerned about the Pakistani-China deal. Only Delhi is jumping up and down antagonizing Beijing, irritating the US, and pouring water on the peace process with Pakistan. Bharat’s stance in front of the NSG is comical–it goes something like this “make an exception for us, but not for anyone else, be it Pakistan or Iran”. In Psychiatric terms, Delhi’s self image differs dramatically from the image others have of it–when the images are very different, it is a true sign of lunacy. Bharat sees itself special. Other powers see it as a bully, a paper tiger, and a spoilt brat—a naked penury strken one with a distended stomach. Bharat sees itself as a huge powerful elephant. These two images cannot be reconciled by a $42 billion Call Center industry–which affects 6 million Bharatis only. Its the other billion that overwhlems the world–its the other billion which are not shown on Bollywood and which doesn’t seem to exist for the Delhi politicians. The Delhi politicians are busy projecting power when huge cavities in Kashmir, Assam and Naxal control area sap the strenght of any argument that emanates from Bharat.
The TOI report had a horrid headline. However the roundup of the news from Pakistan is a true representation of the level of consternation in Delhi. The Bharati media was championing Incredible India which would rule the world. Egged on by the religious right, the sensational newspapers reported the Neocon nonsense and the naive Bharati population lapped it up.
When the rubber hit the road, Bharat discovered that Condaleeza Rice could coronate Bharat as a super power, even if she wanted to. Slumdog pured water on the dreams and the aspirations of the irredentist and revanchist media weaned on the Indian National Congress propaganda machine which projects a hyperbolic version of the future of Bharat. Foreign Leaders know what the Bharati media wants to hear. They say the right words and then laugh their way to the bank.
Meager success in the past decade has given the media a false sense of security. The hubris and arrogance is unfathomable and very nonsensical. No America president or European Prime Minster is as arrogant an ordinary two-bit Bharati bureaucrat.
The TOI report below is a treat to read, because it gives a real vignette of what Bharati’s are thinking. Mr. Zardari has a strong government supported by a friendly opposition, by the army and by the international media. Calling Mr. Zardari names simply informs us that the TOI is frustrated at the success of the Zardari government in dismantling Delhi’s designs in the neighborhood.
The China National Nuclear Corporation recently announced that China would set up two power reactors in Pakistan. It was a move that hpw raised India’s hackles.
Iran and China forge stronger relationship with Pakistan
TOI, the Bharati media and the Delhi establishment seem to have discovered the C-3, and C-4 Nuclear plants as “new deals”. Rupee News has been reporting on them for years. Mr. Zardari’s trip to China has little to do with C-3 and C-4, that was already presented by China to the NSG as a fait accomplii. Mr. Zardari’s trip was multifaceted and profound in many ways. It has engaged China in economic, industrial, housing, and transit ventures which will literally transform all of Asia. The Trans-Korakoram rail link will be an engineering feat and will connect Xinjiang, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan etc to the warm waters of the Arabian sea. This was the dream of Catherine the Great and one of the visions of Mao Zedung.
The rail and road links will enhance trade, and commerce along the silk route. While the Bharati media discusses the 150 km road in Afghanistan day in and day out–it cannot appreciate or fathom the engineering marvels that are going on in the Karakorums. The trip now allows two additional points of contact between China and Paksitan. These three links have colossal potential and will help China in getting its goods to the sea quickly and rapidly.
The TOI articles are myopic only about the Nuclear deal which was signed a decade ago–before the Indo-US deal. Bharat’s brouhaha about the Sino-Pakistani deal is an acknowledgement of Pakistan’s Nuclear status and the growing Sino-Pakistani relationship. Noise from Delhi has highlighted Pakistan’s civilian nuclear deal which will encourage other countries to follow suit. The US is on the fence–and has moved from a “solid no” to a “maybe” to a “soon” to a “OK” stance. It needs a little more encouragement, and will award Pakistan parity—just like the NSG has done.
A round-up of the issue of the week as reported in the media.
Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari, boxed in at home, decided it was time to go visitng his dear friends in China once more this past week. The beleaguered president made his fifth trip as president of Pakistan and met Chinese premier Wen Jiabo for another round of friendly talks. The six-day trip that Zardari made, along with his two daughters, saw the two countries sign six agreements on agriculture, healthcare, justice, media, economy and technology. But these were just the trimmings.
The real deal that Zardari sought to push through was to seek a nuclear deal with China. The China National Nuclear Corporation recently announced that China would set up two power reactors in Pakistan. It was a move that raised India’s hackles. It riled the US as well and there were also objections from some other countries, which said any such move would go against China’s non-proliferation commitments as a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
Commenting on Zardari’s visit, the Daily Times in its editorial on July 9 said, “The most prominent area of this bolstering of ties – especially for the world – is the Sino-Pak civilian nuclear deal that is now beginning to see complete formalisation and initiation. It is unfortunate that the US has expressed its reservations about this deal, where the main goal is to address the acute power crisis in Pakistan. It is also unfortunate that, until now, we have been denied the same right to civil nuclear technology that India was offered in 2006 by the US.
It is rather ironic that the ‘original sinner’ was granted a waiver for its transgressions , as India used its civil nuclear technology for the development of nuclear weapons first, igniting the nuclear arms race in South Asia.” It also called China Pakistan’s “ever-supportive ally” and observed that “in the face of international doubt and pressure, it has been these two allies that have always stood by each other.”
But the Dawn had a different take on the US response to any prospective Sino-Pak nuclear deal. It quoted from an interview published in the Council on Foreign Relations published with an American expert on Pakistan-China relations, Andrew Small of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and suggested that China does not think the US would be mighty miffed.
“The Chinese… believe that Washington needs Beijing’s support on issues such as Iran at the moment and will be unwilling to mount serious resistance to the deal,” observes Mr Small… Moreover, in private, Chinese analysts are quite clear that this is a strategic tit-for-tat (in response to USIndia nuclear deal)… Mr Small points out that the Chinese appear willing to ignore the guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and claim that the deal was part of the exemption for prior Sino-Pak civil nuclear cooperation – the power plants Chashma 1 and 2, which were ‘grandfathered’ as conditions of China’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.”
Rob Taylor, in his blog ‘Afghan Journal’ on Reuters (UK) observed that “It’s a bit of a nuclear poker going on in the region and Afghanistan as the new battleground between the regional players cannot remain untouched.” Slamming India and the US for raising objections to the prospective deal, Sultan M Hali wrote in the Pakistan Observer: “It is the US-India civil nuclear energy deal, which is neither transparent nor legal. In fact International observers including the IAEA should take cognizance of India’s track record before expressing concerns regarding Pak-China civil nuclear energy deal.
Indian double standards fail to take into account that Pakistan-China relations are not based on isolating either India or any other country in the region. It is the Chanakyan principle that “the enemy of your enemy should be made your friend so that you can pressurize your enemy.”
Ali Sukhanver, also writing in the Pakistan Observer hailed the Sino-Pak relationship as a way out for Pakistan from depending on the US: “Pakistan, Iran and China are painting a new picture with the colours of closeness and friendship based on needs and requirements. Iran is providing natural gas to Pakistan and China is enhancing its nuclear ability; simply a relationship based on caring and kindness. As a result of these favours showered on Pakistan , it would become very easy for Pakistan to release itself from the cruel clutches of the US dependence.”
It was is not just nuclear assistance that Zardari wants from China. He wants Beijing to partner Islamabad in fighting terrorism as well. China Central Television quoted him as saying, “China and Pakistan are both victims of terrorism …To strengthen Sino-Pakistani anti-terrorism cooperation and strike at terrorism, separatism and religious extremism is in the fundamental interests of both nations.”
Xinhua reports, “Next year will mark the 60th anniversary of China-Pakistan diplomatic relations. Wen said China is willing to take the opportunity of the 60th anniversary to propel bilateral relations to a new stage.” This is one cosy twosome the world will be closely watching. TOI roundup.
All this translates into a foreign policy failure of colossal proportions. Bharati attempts to partition Afghanistan is not a foreign policy–it is an act of desperation.