Evolution evolved as a first defense an external body carapace as a protection for soft bodied creatures like jellyfish, sponges and worms against the newly evolved predators. The molluscs acquired the genes to make hard outer shells and the insects an outer layer of chitin. Even amongst the vertebrates, tortoises used this strategy to make shells and reptiles a hard skin. At the same time formation of cartilage in sharks and bones in fish led to an inner skeleton capable of a stiff internal structure.
Nations are similarly divided in those that have a stiff spine and those that can be manipulated like putty because they have no spine. China belongs to the first category and India to the second.
No Chinese Sepoys fought and policed their own people to perpetuate the rule of foreigners. During the Korean War, even though the US was an atomic power and China was not, China warned the US not to cross the Yalu river and when the US did, China poured in hordes of troops and suffered massive casualties to drive the US back. It is proper to learn from the good policies of even one's enemies. Similarly in the matter of Taiwan, China threatened to nuke Los Angeles less than a decade ago if the US encouraged Taiwanese independence. Just last week China, even though it needs trade with the US, refused to be browbeaten into upward revaluation of its currency just because the US wants it. Instead it said that if the US wanted to improve its trade balance with China, it should lift the ban on high technology dual use items that China is dying to import.
India, on the other hand delayed testing Agni 3, demoted General Vij during Operation Parakram, keeps delaying the MRCA purchase, all not to annoy America. What is even worse is that the Indian leaders are willing to sign on the nuclear deal at the cost of India becoming a client state of the US and without an independent nuclear deterrent, while publicizing the repeated lies of Burns and Bush.
Only gullible and foolish Indian leaders and civil servants echo these lies while smart and sensible nuclear scientists and think tank mavens like Sethna, Prasad, Gopalakrishnan, Kakodkar, Chellaney and Karnad point out the folly and trap of the nuclear deal. The Hyde Act basically turns India into a total dependent of the US for nuclear fuel, while ultimately capping production of fissile material and putting much of the nuclear program under intrusive inspections by multiple agencies and at the whim and mercy of annual certification by the US president. Interested readers can Google and search for the incisive analysis of the above experts at www.asianage.com and other web sites.
The unreachable carrot of making India a great power and increasing military co-operation are just lures to sell India US planes to reduce the US trade deficit and place India at the mercy of future embargos and other blackmail to coerce India's foreign policy to US interests. Already the Indian decision to buy EADS helicopters and Scorpene submarines led Russia to ask for higher payments for refitting the Gorshkov and the remaining Sukhoi MKIs.
I am not for one moment suggesting that India should give in to bullying by the Russians, but we are hoping to acquire nuclear submarines from the Russians (no one else will give those to us) and they are helping us to develop a submarine nuclear reactor and it makes no sense for us to alienate them by giving orders for western arms until we have attained a nuclear submarine based nuclear missile capability, the third leg of our deterrence triad. I am aware that there have been complaints about the quality of some Russian arms and their spares, but these are minor matters easily solved by negotiations.
Furthermore there is the logistical problem of servicing and maintaining myriad arms platforms which are time, labor and finance consuming. The delay in deciding about the MRCA purchase only to please America, led to India losing out on the cheaper purchase of the French Mirage 2000s with transfer of technology. Dassault closed the production line. We can have a winning combination of cheaper but reasonably advanced airframes from Russia with more state of the art Israeli and French avionics, radars, EW and other extras.
A nation's foreign policy should be based on realpolitik and not pure ideology. Ideological policies are a road to disaster. Iran under Khomeini chose the path of Islamism and faced economic and manpower devastation during the war with Iraq. China before the seventies followed communist ideology of Mao and had similar catastrophes The revised pragmatic policy of Deng and the foolish self-destructive greed of American capitalists has catapulted it into a world power destined to overtake the US. Pakistan's Islamist policies have made it a basket case. India under Nehru was ideology driven to a fair extent and refused to accommodate America and hitched itself to the Soviet Union while shunning the leader with disastrous economic consequences. Now that America is a clearly waning power economically and to some extent militarily, India is backing it while dissociating from a resurgent Russia. Boy, we sure are great at picking losers!
Even tiny Kuwait has loosened the peg of its currency to the dollar. Iran is clamoring to sell oil in Euros and Russia wants us to pay for planes in Euros. The US is running trillion dollar budget, trade and current account deficits. Even our lowly rupee has appreciated over 10% against the dollar and the Euro has risen 50%, the Russian ruble nearly 20%.
A little noticed and analyzed fact is that the Democrat US Congress has knuckled under and funded Bush's war without any benchmark limitations. This should make it obvious to all but blind and stupid fools that both the US political parties do not wish to withdraw from Iraq or Afghanistan where they are unwanted by all but their puppet governments. This is because it is the gambler's last throw of dice before bankruptcy and loss of credit and credibility from and by the world.
It is very likely that desperate Bush will attack Iran in the hope of salvaging America's reputation, power and position. The US is arming the Lebanese Sunni government against Palestinian and Shia factions. It is arming Palestinian Fatah against Hamas. It is fomenting insurgencies amongst the Kurds, Baluchis and Azeris of Iran. It is discreetly fanning the Sunni-Shia animosity in Iraq and between its neighbors.
Unfortunately the chances of success are poor as the illegitimate rulers of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have no genuine following. Iran will likely become the lead power and hegemon of the Gulf region. The only means to prevent that are for the US to bomb Iran and declare war. That will inevitably lead to blockade of the Straits of Hormuz with oil going to 100 or 150 dollars and put Russia in the catbird seat. Once again the US has painted itself into a corner due to the stupidity and hubris of Bush and the connivance of the lying hypocritical Democrats. The ballistic upward trajectory of world stock markets is to entice suckers while the smart money exits to safer havens.
This is why China is cementing relationships with Africa for oil and trade, with East and Southeast Asia for trade, with Russia and Central Asia for arms, trade and energy and from its interim spineless period re-growing a stiff spine, while India is reverting to its default status of a spineless jellyfish by backing the wrong horse in the coming seismic upheaval in the Middle East from an internecine war between Sunnis, Shias, Azeris, Baluchis, Pashtuns, Kurd and Turks destined to spread to Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
India should remember that a bird in hand is worth two in the Bush!