This is a gamble; will it pay off or backfire?
By Brig Asif Haroon Raja
The US dream of converting India into an effective bulwark against China had been perceived sometime in the late 1990s when India had got it self fully aligned with USA after the demise of its earlier patron USSR. No other country in Asia was prepared to undertake this role since none have the military capability to do so. Moreover, China’s foreign policy is peaceful and its military strategy is defensive in nature. At no stage China has tried to grab any country through use of force or tried to topple a regime through intrigue. It has always endeavored to extend its influence in the third world through policy of goodwill and providing military and economic assistance on soft terms. This policy has helped China in enhancing its respect and increasing its sphere of influence far and wide including South American states.
Conversely, USA having imperialist designs has been pursuing aggressive policies to undermine third world countries through covert war, economic and military sanctions and launching physical attacks. In the vital Middle East wherefrom bulk of its own, its western allies and Japan’s oil needs are met, it has turned Israel into a bully to keep the Arab world terrorized and submissive. It has made military bases all over the world to keep a firm check on all regions. After the fall of its chief rival Soviet Union in 1991, China has emerged as a power which has the potential to challenge its world monopoly.
Already China has overtaken USA in the economic field and is moving rapidly to bridge the military and technological gap. Its rapid rise and USA’s decline particularly owing to ongoing global recession and war on terror has made the situation precarious for USA. Notwithstanding that China is extending all out support to USA to prevent its economic collapse, yet both are competitors and rivals and not partners. The US has borrowed huge loans from China, yet it wants to cut surging economic power of China to size so that it could retain its unchallenged uni-polarism.
It is under such strategic compulsions that USA threw bait to India to become a bulwark against China in return for huge material benefits. The latter readily took the bait because of its own burning ambitions of becoming a regional and a world power. It is happily playing the game since the very thought of being tipped as a bulwark against a potential super power gives myth loving and megalomaniac Brahmans an inner pleasure and boosts their mythical beliefs. Unresolved border disputes with China and its thorough spanking at the hands of Chinese soldiers in the 1962 border conflict are other reasons to accept US offer. It is suchlike inner urges that former Indian Army Chief Gen Kapoor as well as current Chief Gen VK Singh have been giving vent to their fanciful wishes by stating that Indian military has acquired the capability to trounce both China and Pakistan in one go.
Besides satisfying its egoism of being seen as a matching military power of China, development of its conventional military strength and nuclear power helps India in its drive to browbeat Pakistan and to forcibly make it accept its hegemony. With the active help of USA and the west, India is determined to disable Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence either by getting its modest nuclear program rolled back or to build up its weapon grade nuclear capability massively. Discriminatory Indo-US nuclear deal and allowing India access to Nuclear Suppliers Group is a step in that direction.
All this humbug of bulwark against China is in reality a farce since India has neither any desire to confront China nor it has the physical and mental capability or even will to harm China. In reality, India wants to become economically and militarily so strong and awesome that it is in position to overawe Pakistan and force it to forget about Kashmir issue and accept India’s hegemony as a fait accompli. The US is behind this game plan.
On one hand it is beefing up military and economic strength of India hugely, on the other hand it is systematically weakening Pakistan’s economy and its military strength. Pakistan Army, ISI and nuclear program has been consistently subjected to vicious vilification campaign which is still continuing.
While the US never tires of pointing fingers at Pakistan and finding never ending faults, it sees India as flawless and sinless. Since 1990 there has not been a single occasion when even a lowly American official ever spoke a word against India what to talk of hurling accusations. Indian security forces brutal practices in IOK and against minorities in India since ages do not bring even a frown on the foreheads of champions of human rights and democracy. India’s record of cross border terrorism is an open secret but it has never been admonished. As against their haughty and bossy attitude towards Pakistan’s leaders, the US officials bend over backwards to keep India pleased and appeased. They remain eager to attend to Indian demands and their concocted security concerns but care two hoots for genuine security concerns of Pakistan which is supposed to be a non-Nato ally.
None of India’s neighbors in South Asia are at ease with India and are wary of its intrusiveness and its desire to turn them into its satellites. India’s RAW has been blatantly supporting anti-state elements in neighboring countries. Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal are its biggest victims. Behind the glitter of so-called shining India projected through state controlled media, it is a moth eaten country and its fragmentation is a forgone conclusion. The 28 states artificially bonded into Indian Union will fall like nine-pins since all the minorities living in India and low caste Dalits are fed up of the coercive four-fold caste system imposed by 2.8 Brahmans, who are genetically perfidious, cunning, cruel and deceitful. With such a dismal state of affairs, it is ludicrous to call India a bulwark against China.
Idea of bulwark helps India in hiding its embarrassment as to why over 700,000 Indian forces in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK) have utterly failed to crush the freedom movement waged by few thousand ill-equipped Kashmiris against whom the whole world has shut their eyes and ears. The mismatch is going on for the last two decades and now unarmed teenagers have come in the forefront. Indian Army has failed to quell any of the 30 armed insurgencies raging within India of which Maoist movement is the most dangerous since it has grown into an existential threat to Indian integrity. It is been unsuccessful in overawing Pakistan which is five times smaller in size, population and resources. Indian Army suffered humiliation in Sri Lanka in 1987-88, when it tried to defeat its own creation Tamil Tigers known as LTTE. Ultimately, Sri Lankan Army crushed LTTE decisively.
It is because of deep seated prejudice of the US and western countries against Muslims that they have adopted a discriminatory posture towards Pakistan. They see India as their natural partner and consider it morally right to bestow it with all the favors without taking into consideration what grave affects it will have on thesecurity of Pakistan in particular. While the US and the west see Pakistan as black and India as white, the world has begun to see the ugly face of India. It is now common knowledge that India is the sole terrorist state in South Asia and has disturbed the peace and stability of this region.
Bogey of bulwark has been raised by USA purposely since it gives it a legal cover to assist India lavishly. It helps India to justify its heavy increase in defence budget each year and its mad rush to buy most expensive and advanced armaments and technology. Pakistan is silenced by assuring it that India’s military buildup is directed against China.
While India is ever ready to pounce at a weak opponent, it will never pick up courage to clash with a more powerful or even an equivalent military power. It doesn’t even fight a weaker opponent fairly and instead indulges in covert war and psychological war to further weaken it from within before entering the battlefield. With such a cautious mindset and lack of will, it is simply out of question that India will ever confront China militarily.
India may agree to back up USA if the latter decides to attack China, but will jump in only when it is absolutely sure that the US is winning and not otherwise. The possibility of USA attacking China is also ruled out given the US current vulnerabilities and its track record of striking smaller and weak countries only. Under the circumstances, the dream of making India a bulwark against China will remain confined to sand model exercises only.
Brig Asif Haroon Raja, a Member Board of Advisors Opinion Maker is Staff College and Armed Forces War Coursequalified, holds MSc war studies degree; a second generation officer, he fought epic battle of Hilli in northwest East Bengal during 1971 war, in which Maj M. Akram received Nishan-e-Haider posthumously. He served as Directing Staff Command & Staff College, Defence Attaché Egypt and Sudan and Dean of Corps of Military Attaches in Cairo. He commanded the heaviest brigade in Kashmir. He is lingual and speaks English, Pashto and Punjabi fluently. He is author of books titled ‘Battle of Hilli’, ‘1948, 1965 & 1971 Kashmir Battles and Freedom Struggle’, ‘Muhammad bin Qasim to Gen Musharraf’, Roots of 1971 Tragedy’; has written number of motivational pamphlets. Draft of his next book ‘Tangled Knot of Kashmir’ is ready. He is a defence analyst and columnist and writes articles on security, defence and political matters for numerous international/national newspapers/websites.