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Indo-US Relations: Blow Hot Blow Cold
|by Dr. Jaipal Singh|
Both India and United States (US) are great democracies while the former is the largest and the latter is the oldest democracies of the world according to the modern age narrative. Ideally, this is a good reason why two countries should be closer allies yet they have a mixed relationship with many decades of a troubled on many counts. Of late, when the two countries are trying to strengthen mutual bonds including their military partnership, an unnerving development is in news and hot discussion that the US is renewing its F-16 deal with Pakistan by extending its sustainment program for the aforesaid fighter jets. It is of common knowledge that the US had earlier supplied these jets to Pakistan in 1980s on the plea of fighting terrorism in the sub-continent; on the contrary, the fighter jets have been only used against India at occasions. Be it individual human beings or nationalities, a healthy and harmonious relationship could develop only based on equality, mutual respect and shared concerns and considerations. In the current piece, the author proposes to analyze the two countries’ ongoing blow hot blow cold relationship.
Democracy as Common Fostering Element!
Democracy per se is rather a very old concept associated with a political system of governance and the modern Western historians and scholars often tend to credit Greek ancient people, whom many 18th century CE European scholars and intellectuals considered as the progenitors of the Western civilization and democratic institutions. Naturally, India does not find a mention in the context of the evolution of democracy or ancient democratic traditions because when the concept was evolving and taking roots in the West towards the later part of the medieval age or early modern era, India was already reeling under the atrocious misrule of the colonial powers. The fact is that although not with the same nomenclature (democracy) but the democratic institutions were in vogue and strong enough in India even in the Vedic societies. The terms Sabha (Assembly) and Samiti (Committee) find mention both in the Rig Veda and Atharva Veda, suggesting that a system was in vogue whereby the decisions or conclusions were made after deliberation among the head (king), key advisors (ministers) and scholars. Even the word Ganatantra (republic) has been used many times in the Rig Veda and Atharva Veda.
The Sanskrit terms Gana-sangha or Gana-Rajya mentioned in the context of the post-Vedic Indian states basically represent or are analogous to the modern age republics only. It is of common knowledge that out of the sixteen Mahajanpadas (great states) of the ancient India, at least two of them viz. Vajji and Mallakas were well known republics. In the modern parlance, any democracy is ordinarily identified with its ability to intervene to regulate socio-political administration of the society juxtaposed with the recognition of its sovereignty by the international legalistic framework of other similarly sovereign states. Modern democracies are characterized by two essential requirements that differentiate them fundamentally from other forms of government i.e. the capacity to conclusively intervene in their own societies and the recognition of their sovereignty by an international legalistic framework of similarly sovereign states. Both India and US meet this criterion and should have ideally been great allies owing to the aforesaid characteristics yet ironically they have had an uneven and often troubled relationship and the jinx is still continued.
A Historical Review of Indo-US Relations
The modern US was established in July 1776 on the principles a liberal democracy following the American Revolution wherein the then thirteen North American colonies under the British Crown fought a long ideological and political war including an armed resistance to gain independence from the British crown. Henceforth the Americans celebrate their Independence Day on 4th July every year with great gaiety and galore that includes the Independence Day Parade(s), various ceremonies, fireworks, carnivals, concerts, baseball games, and so on. India too remained a British colony for nearly two hundred years that included the direct reign under the British crown for nearly ninety years from 1858 onwards. Finally, it gained independence on 15th August 1947 after a long freedom struggle but not before division of the country in two dominions on the basis of religion on the demand of Muslims (Islamists). India too follows its own tradition of celebrating independence on the aforesaid date with main parade in New Delhi on Rajpath (now renamed Kartavya Path). Of the two countries, India has opted for the parliamentary democracy where an elected representative is the head of the government (prime minister) while the head of state (president) is indirectly chosen by the legislature. In contrast, the US has adopted the presidential system, whereunder the head of state (president) is directly chosen by the people, who is also the head of government.
The chapter of Indo-US relationship started after India gained independence on 15 August 1947 and the first Congress government was formed under the premiership of Jawaharlal Nehru, a favourite of the septuagenarian and unquestionable Indian leader of the freedom struggle, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi aka Mahatama Gandhi. However, the Americans do have some prior history too in India. During the first half of the 20th century, the awareness about the evils of imperialism was growing worldwide and Indian freedom struggle cause against the British received support from many countries such as Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the USSR and the US as well with moral and political support while some nations volunteering for even material assistance. Although the official the US policy was uneven as usual driven by own interests but many members in the US Congress, media and intellectuals were consistent in support to the Indian freedom cause. Several protestant missionaries too arrived in India from 19th century onwards who were critics of social evils such as Child marriage, plight of women but condemned colonial rule and favoured the freedom struggle as well. Although the most American used see see India in a poor light but the visits and works of several eminent Indians in US such as Swami Vivekanand, Rabindranath Tagore, Lala Lajpat Rai, and so on, considerably helped to improve their mindset as well as the scope of interaction and cooperation between India and America. Then during the World War II too, despite supporting UK and allies in war, the US consistently maintained an anti-colonial and anti-imperialistic stand.
Following the independence in 1947, the Indo-US relations have followed a zigzag, often even troubled, course but with considerable improvement in the recent years. The complex relationship has been mainly driven by the political, social, economic and military cooperation and for the sake of brevity we shall discuss here only a few events primarily on political considerations. Also it is not the US alone responsible for the troubled relationship; instead, India too, particularly in the first two decades since Independence, committed some grave errors. At the end of the imperialist regime, Mr Jawaharlal Nehru became head of the first government of the independent India with the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi although the majority of the state Congress committees and other leaders favoured Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to lead owing to his seniority and known administrative acumen. Thereafter, as the prime minister of free India, Mr. Nehru continued as unchallanged leader of the Indian National Congress and the successive governments till his death in 1964, during the period he also served as the foreign minister of India. With these crucial portfolios in hand, he not only decided the political and socio-economic policies at the apex level but also directed the foreign policy and external affairs of India.
Here the objective of this piece is not to analyze or evaluate the complex personality and attributes of Pandit Nehru but his long stint as unchallenged, and usually unquestioned too, leader indeed had many far reaching implications in shaping socio-economics of the country and its relationship with other nations; hence it becomes imminent and unavoidable to mention a few things here. As a nationalist and committed leader of the Indian National Congress, he was among the prominent leaders who fought with British over decades for the nationalist cause of independence from the colonial powers yet he appeared to have firm belief in internationalism. Perhaps with his long exposure and struggle with the colonial rule, he was vehemently against imperialism and favoured the concept of interdependence among nation as the vital source of greater internationalism and a step towards a ‘socialized international structure’. At the same time, having been educated in England, he was quite liberal, moderate and idealist in personal life and was fond of English education, manners and etiquette. Such paradoxical attributes and his consequential non-committal approach was quite visible in his speeches and writings on the world affairs and dynamics of the international politics but, he was often found shrunk to mere idealism of working for a greater human purpose rather than offering any concrete roadmap or solution to do things. Nehru’s obsessive faith, fascination and camaraderie with China was his yet another weakness that not only caused him personal embarrassment in later years but also immense harm to the Indian political, economic and military interests in many ways.
The 2nd World War ended with the victory of Allied Powers in1945, but this war truly established only the US and USSR (now Russia) as real victors who very soon emerged as two superpowers competing with each other to dominate in the bipolar world. Naturally, both the US and USSR were politically and diplomatically keen to take India in their fold owing to her large population, size and traditional geo-political importance in the world. Simultaneously, too many upheavals were taking place in Asia, Africa and other parts of the world. Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong had formed the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 after ousting the ruling Nationalist Party of the Republic of China (ROC) after a long bloodshed during the Chinese Revolution. Then year 1950 would be politically remembered for two major historical events in Asia; of which, one was the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet in October and the other was the beginning of the bitter Korean War that engaged the capitalist Western Block as well as the communist Russian block with active engagement of the countries like USA, USSR and China.
Though Pandit Nehru officially maintained a non-aligned policy but he was so enamoured with the newly formed Chinese government under the Communist Party supremo Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai that India under him actually took side and supported the cause of China in the UN and other forums as the newly formed People’s Republic of China (PRC) was not recognized as yet by the most countries, particularly of the influential West. Logically and by all means this was a time when India should have focused its attention at the situation evolving in Tibet and left Korea to get sorted out by the other world giants but just opposite happened under the leadership of Prime Minister Nehru, who was also the Foreign Minister. Most experts of international polity believed that India was in a reasonably strong position in 1950 to defend its interests in Tibet and she could have easily mustered support of the US and other Western Block countries too on this issue. The Korean War in no way helped India but Tibet lost its independence bringing a perennial and constant Chinese threat at the doorstep of India for all time to come.
It is of common knowledge that Taiwan (ROC) occupied the permanent seat in the UN Security Council since 1945 and it was transferred to China (PRC) much later in 1971. The issue of similar membership for India has been discussed time and again by many politicians and intellectuals, and as early as in 1955 in response to a parliament question asked by Lok Sabha Member JN Parekh if India had refused a seat informally offered to her in the UNSC, Pandit Nehru had given a categorical reply in negative as foreign minister of the country. On the other hand, many historians and experts agree that such feelers were indeed given by the US, and later USSR as well. Even Congress leader and former UN Under-Secretary General Shashi Tharoor has reportedly said in an interview in 2004 that Nehru declined a US offer to India to take a permanent seat at UNSC in 1953 and he also wrote in his book ‘Nehru – The Invention of India’ that Nehru suggested the seat till then held by Taiwan be offered to Beijing instead. The historian Anton Harder report titled “Not as the Cost of China” also indicate that the US had begun mounting pressure on India for a permanent seat as early as 1950, but then the central pillar of Nehru’s foreign policy was the integration of PRC into the international community by conceding to China’s right to the seat.
The records of the correspondences of Ms. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Nehru’s sister and then Indian Ambassador to USA also vindicate that such offer, though informal, was indeed made by the US. However, Nehru’s considered opinion was that it was a legitimate interest of China (PRC) and she must be given her right place in order to reduce international tensions. In fact, apparently Nehru opined that the US offer was an attempt to create trouble between India and China. It’s obvious that Mr. Nehru’s obstinate stand lacking diplomatic finesse would have not gone well with the US administration. Now, in today’s geo-political scenario, China acts as the chief opponent and spoiler of India’s aspirations and chances internationally, about a permanent seat in the Security Council as well as its membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and representation in other coveted international forum. This is yet another paradox of modern age that the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, was the first world leader to recognize the Communist Chinese (PRC) regime, supported China unconditionally during the Korean War (1950-53), almost entirely ignored its aggression in Tibet, and constantly persuaded international community for its entry in the UNO: in return, India compromised its chance for a permanent seat in UNSC, earned displeasure of the world’s most powerful country and same PRC is the biggest threat to India’s own security and integrity in this age.
This inept handling of the Tibetan cause and unwarranted political and diplomatic engagement on behalf of China might have certainly disappointed the hawks in the US policy makers. Till 1950, the friendly Tibet always served as a buffer between the two Asian giants and in one stroke the entire largely undefined Himalayan border was exposed for the future tussles and conflicts owing to the hegemonic and expansionist approach of the PRC. Thus in a way, the seeds of 1962 Sino-Indian War were sown during the Tibetan crisis itself owing to its inept handling by the political leadership of India. Even more ironical part of the 1962 war was that it blew up Nehru's non-alignment philosophy too. Making a common cause of the 'Western Imperialism' while befriending China and USSR, Mr. Nehru had so for maintained a measured distance and dismissive approach towards forging a relationship based on common interests with the US and UK - the only powerful and capable countries of the time. When the hostilities broke out between India and China on 20 October 1962 owing to latter’s humbuggery and betrayal of trust, Pandit Nehru made a fervent appeal to the same US and UK for an urgent arms and material aid in order to meet the Chinese challenge. Despite their engagement with the Cuban crisis, both the countries did respond favourably and the first arms consignment from the US reportedly reached in the first week of November even before the formal signing of a contract; while the USSR, the other major communist ally of the Indian Prime Minister, remained an undecided spectator under the dilemma of choosing 'fraternal China' or 'friendly India'.
The war inflicted humiliation was a major blow to India’s reputation in 1962 and the country was largely perceived as a weak nation with weak and inefficient leadership by the world fraternity. This emboldened Pakistani military dictator General Ayub Khan to believe that the weak Indian Army would not be able to defend itself if a quick military assault is made to usurp Kashmir. While India under Premier Nehru was still hesitant to the overtures of the US and its Western allies for any meaningful cooperation or alliance, Pakistan had already succeeded in receiving considerable military aid and sophisticated weaponry as a member of SEATO and CENTO of the Western military alliances. Consequently, Pakistanis started a covert ‘Operation Gibraltar’ in August 1965 in Kashmir, followed by a full-scale military invasion on 1st September 1965. Pakistani military experts believed that the Indian army won’t be able to withstand the US supplied sophisticated weaponry including the advanced Sabre jets and Patton tanks during in the conventional warfare. Contrary to the much hyped Pakistani strength of superior air power and armoury, the field tactics and war strategy of Indian soldiers on the ground proved to be more effective and decisive. Consequently, though the war remained largely indecisive but the Indian armed forces inflicted heavy losses on adversaries and captured large enemy areas in Sindh other parts. While the US largely maintained a neutral stance during this war but the UK Prime Minister condemned India blaming aggression after the Indian army advanced to capture Lahore. The USSR played a peacemaker with the negotiated settlement and the US took this as a major embarrassment as a closer ally of Pakistan due to fiasco with their arms and weaponry during the war.
After the death of Pandit Nehru, Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri became Indian prime minister for a brief stint and after his death in suspicious circumstances in Taskent, the reign of power was transferred back to Nehu-Gandhi family. India needed to strengthen its military power for self-defense and the USSR emerged as a trustworthy supplier willing to give post-supply maintenance support and the transfer of technology too, if so required. The Congress as ruling party was not willing to deviate from the Nehruvian ideology and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was even more favourably disposed towards the USSR while the arch enemy Pakistan had already become stooge of the US and allies by the time. Consequently, when Pakistan army started its excesses on civilian population in general and genocide of Hindus in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), Prime Minister Indira Gandhi wrote to the US President Richard Nixon about this manmade crisis, millions of refugees crossing the Indian border for the safety of life and consequent political and economic burden on India for the humanitarian cause. Later even before Indira Gandhi’s state visit to US in November 1971, President Nixon is known to have made racial and vulgar remarks about her, such was the sense of enmity and bias against the country. The bias of Nixon-Kissinger about India was not knew, therefore anticipating imminent trouble soon, India had already forged a long term treaty of peace, friendship and cooperation with the Soviet Union in August 1971 that catered for even specified mutual strategic assistance in the event of outbreak of hostilities with enemy nations.
During the Bangladesh crisis, the US did not play any constructive role; instead the American President and Secretary of State had chosen to blame India for creating war hysteria with the threats of economic sanctions. Obviously, the US was favourably disposed towards Pakistan mainly for two reasons: One, Pakistan was a member of the American led military pacts SEATO and CENTO with certain obligations towards the member countries; the other, in a bipolar world US feared that an Indian dominance and victory over Pakistan may strengthen and expand the Soviet influence in the region as they considered India a pro-Soviet nation despite its professed non-aligned policy. When the Indo-Pakistan war formally started on 3rd December 1971, the US dispatched a strong naval fleet under the American Aircraft Carrier “Enterprise”, stationed in the Asia-Pacific region towards the Bay of Bengal, in the Indian Ocean in threatening gestures in solidarity with Pakistan. Simultaneously, the UK too moved its battle group under the Aircraft Carrier “Eagle” in the Arabian Sea near the territorial waters of India. However, the Soviets were keenly watching these developments under obligations of the newly forged friendship treaty and they too promptly positioned their nuclear submarine and battle ships in operational readiness mode in the Indian Ocean. These developments deterred the Western powers to resort to any misadventure or any further provocative move and the Indian troops comfortably finished the task of Bangladesh liberation within two weeks. While the British Navy soon retreated to the south of Madagascar and the Soviet battle groups trailed the US task force from a safe distance in the Indian Ocean till it was withdrawn in early January 1972.
Post-1971 War, the relationship between India and US further worsened and despite understanding well the fallacy of investing in Pakistan, the US continued to supply the former advanced F-16 fighter jets and other sophisticated armament and weaponry in the name of fighting terrorism in the region. Later, this trend gradually declined towards mid-1990s after Pakistan was exposed on many occasions for its active role in sponsoring terrorism in India and other countries but position dramatically changed only after Al-Qaeda attack on US in September 2001. The traditional US view and vision about the importance and role of India in the global context too has considerably changed. This could be visualized from the Kargil War in 1999 when the former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited then US President Bill Clinton for support, it is widely believed that the US President instead admonished the former to rein in the militants and Pakistani forces to vacate Indian positions. Needless to mention, when the imminent defeat was in foresight in this localized war, instead of taking risk of escalating it to other areas, Mr. Sharif heeded to US President’s advice and pulled back his remaining soldiers from the Kargil heights. Subsequently, another US President George Bush took initiative to enhance nuclear cooperation with India on civilian facilities by striking a nuclear deal in 2005. Ever since these developments, US and India have had many constructive joint-programmes, engagements and treaties to forge long term friendship and cooperation in different areas including military preparedness and warfare.
After the disintegration of the Soviet Union in early 1990s, the world order too had considerably changed. The USSR led Warsa Pact arrived at in 1955 among the Communist Block countries in response to the US led NATO was dissolved in July 1991 after the unification of the West and East Germany. Russia has not remained as powerful and influential now while China emerged as new military and economic challenge to the US and other NATO countries in the 21st century and India too is now perceived as a major rising economy and military power in the global scenario. All such changes have compelled the US and other western countries to improve their relationship and cooperation with India in the new emerging world order. Over the years, India too has explored its other options to have less dependence on Russian military hardware for its defense needs as also similar options in other sectors seeking cooperation with many countries. Although the political mood and approach of the US government and allies towards India has shown remarkable improvement in the recent years, the bias of the Western media, NGOs, many academic institutions and intellectuals towards India continues hitherto fore as can be seen from their perpetually tainted, coloured and at times hateful reports on the issues like civil liberties, human rights, condition of women, corruption and crime, Kashmir, and so on.
Reasons for Continued Uneven Relationship
From the foregoing description, it is evident that despite similar political set up and several grounds of common concern, the relationship between India and US has always been uneven and often on shaky grounds and unpredictable. The US arms supply to Pakistan on the rationale of facilitating the latter’s war on terrorism is not new, the former has supplied to the latter very sophisticated and lethal military hardware including P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, F-16 fighter jets, military radio sets, tube-launched, optically tracked, wireless-guided anti-armour missiles in the past; and even granted it a major non-NATO ally status more recently. The US administration has been doing all this in spite of the fact that post-September 2001 Al-Qaeda attacks on US killing about 3,000 people, Osama Bin Laden was found sheltered by Pakistan right under the army nose in Abbottabad Cantonment, tracked and liquidated in May 2011 by the US Navy Seals in a top secret special operation of which even the top Pakistan administration had no information or inkling. The US President and administration have directly blamed Pakistan on many occasions for its role in promoting and sponsoring terrorism in the Indian sub-continent and elsewhere.
The recent package of $450-million for the Pakistan Air Force includes technical and logistics services for the maintenance and upgradation of their F-16 fleet on the same silly excuse of giving assistance to Pakistan to combat terrorism. Recently, in an address to the Indian-American community, the Indian External Affair Minister expressed his concern about the US package allegedly offered for aid in counter-terrorism by saying, “You are not fooling anybody by saying these things.” When you talk about an aircraft like a capability of F-16, everyone would know where they are deployed and their end use. In fact, almost simultaneously a few other development too have taken which appear to pose somewhat similar cause of concern. For instance, the US ambassador to Pakistan visited the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir during the first week of October 2022 with later their Embassy issuing a notification that the visit was aimed to promote US-Pakistan partnership highlighting their deep economic, cultural, and people-to-people ties. Similarly, one of the US major allies, Germany has recently made a statement on possible role of UN in Kashmir issue, which the world body had closed for any more consideration long back. In yet another development, the first ever action against an Indian company for allegedly dealing in Iranian petroleum products, the US Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on a Mumbai-based Indian oil company for dealing with Iranian petroleum products.
Obviously, these developments raise concerns and questions when the Indo-US relationship was constantly improving and the bilateral cooperation expanding in several areas based on mutual consideration, respect and recognition. On face, it would appear that these negative moves and vibes are an immediate fall out of India’s independent stand on Russia-Ukraine War while the US and its western allies wanted India to go along with them. The Ukraine could certainly be one reason but undoubtedly there are many more reasons driven by long term some genuine and other vested interests for the superpower’s frenemy like behaviour and action. Obviously, the Indo-US relationship cannot be taken for granted and it needs constant and proper mutual understanding and care. Some of the more important such viable reasons, and irritants as well, are briefly explained here:
(1). India’s Independent Foreign Policy
The US foreign policy is completely driven in furtherance of their self-interests in global perspective. Be it NATO or any other global and regional alliance, as a capitalist country and superpower, US has primarily forged alliances with a view to shine its image of a superpower and global supercop besides safeguarding own global/regional interests, check influence of the communist/socialist powers like Russia and China, and share certain accrued benefits with the partners as default beneficiaries. On the other hand, India is independently pursuing its foreign policy and global interest on case to case basis based on mutual recognition, respect and consideration as equal partners. It is due to this reason that if India is a member of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue as QUAD on the regional security along with the US, Japan and Australia, it also participates as member in the deliberations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization along with China, Russia and others on political, economic and security in the Eurasian region.
(2). India Cannot Betray a Time Tested Ally
Indian ethos and actions are based on its long civilizational history driven by certain ethical and moral principles, though this inter alia also involves important geopolitical considerations. While the US in like a continent in itself, India has a long shared border with several countries including the Asian giants China and Russia as also long shared cultural and other traditions in the region. While the US policy and approach has always been driven by their global and regional interests, and, therefore, an uneven relationship with India follows. On the other hand, the relationship with Russia has always been based on mutual respect and recognition for mutual benefit. While the US has acted against Indian political, economic and security interests on many occasions, the Russia has almost always been considerate and supported India in national and international platter. When India fought a war with Pakistan in 1971 to stop genocide of Hindus and the liberation of Bangladesh, it was Russia (then USSR) that stood like a rock behind India to enable it to achieve war objective in a record time while the US and other western powers were supporting the dictatorial regime engaged in commiting heinous crimes against humanity.
There is yet another very important reason why politically and diplomatically India cannot afford to alienate Russia vis-à-vis US just because it shares democratic values with the US and some countries of the European Union. Apart from substantive assistance and cooperation in many civil sectors post-independence, the Russia has also assisted India in a big way to build up its defense capability against the perennial hostile neighbours Pakistan and China. Although India has gradually explored and extended its defense cooperation with other countries, almost seventy percent of its military hardware and weaponry is still of Russian origin that needs constant maintenance and upgradation efforts. Besides, the two countries are having several joint ventures for the defense needs such as Brahmos supersonic cruise missile and other ongoing programmes. Russia is also providing five regiments of the S-400 air defense system to India for the latter’s credible defense against potential adversaries. The majority Indian fighter & reconnaissance aircrafts and main battle tanks are of Russian origin; even the only aircraft carrier (other is still under development) Vikramaditya too is of Russian origin. In view of these considerations and compulsions, India cannot alienate its trusted ally like Russia against yet to be proven allies such as US.
(3). US-Centric Reasons
The aforesaid crucial factors are largely India-centric, which may be a cause of annoyance for the US and other NATO allies. However, these alone are not the sole dictating factors because the US has many of its own selfish reasons driven by their global and regional interests and ambition, which really matter in its long term relationship with India. Some of the more important reasons are briefly enumerated in the following lines:
1. having a bitter lesson already learnt by promoting China in the past with a strategic motive of readying it to counter the former Soviet Union, the US would never want India to be economically and militarily capable enough to ever pose as a rival or challenger to their global and regional supremacy. Apart from helping China to have a permanent seat in the UN security Council, the US consciously strengthened its political and diplomatic relations with China and assisted it to get easy entry in the world Trade Organization, facilitated investment in China by the US and European countries, allowed free market access to the Chinese goods, and so on. In return, the Chinese leadership conspired and stole the western technologies to build and upgrade own industrial and military technology and enormously expanded their world commerce so much so that they are now threatening the US in various areas including military to usurp event its superpower tag.
2. Addressing his party congressional committee on 13 October 2022, US President Joe Biden said that Pakistan with nuclear-weapons without cohesion is one of the most dangerous nations in the world. They have also castigated Pakistan as a terrorist nation on many occasions. Notwithstanding these facts, the US on one hand vouches to make a common cause with India to fight against terrorism but simultaneously on the other hand also equips Pakistan with sophisticated arms supply and sale such as F-16 fighter aircraft on the pretext of curbing terrorism in the region. Such justification would be digestible only to US as it beats common logic and rationale to everyone else. The motive is clear; as long as arms race continues in the sub-continent and India is militarily engaged with Pakistan and China even if in low-intensity war, it’s economy and development cannot achieve faster pace and that serves the US objective pointed out in previous paragraph well.
3. The Ukraine war has tremendously put many European countries like Germany under economic and military pressure owing to Russian counter measures / sanctions. The war itself could have been simply avoided with the US declaration that NATO has no plan to give entry to Ukraine in its military alliance. The US hostile and belligerent stand against Russia has put other non-nuclear European countries like Germany to have no option but to toe the US line lest their own security might be compromised. The war has come as an opportunity of US arms sale, triggered disruption in supplies, inflation and rising of interest rates in Europe; which is bound to push recession in European countries which are already paying maximum price of war. To maintain own supremacy, the US would never want Europe, China and India to live in complete peace and harmony; the Ukraine war has shaken all and is serving well this objective.
4. The US has a well known history of creating conflicts in various parts and so often has endorsed and taken side with autocratic and dictatorial regimes. Even the recent $450 million package to Pakistan for F-16 fighter aircrafts despite knowing well about its end use is a clever ploy to keep India at edge. Pakistan last used their F-16 fighters against India in February 2020 and in that air skirmish, India lost one Mig-21 aircraft, although the brave and skilled Indian fighter pilot also shot down one F-16 on Indian soil before going down with own plane and sufficient evidence to this effect was later provided by the Indian Air Force. While giving more teeth to Pakistan Air Force, the package would now compel India to make commensurate investment to upgrade its air defense capabilities. If the regional conflicts are not created in Asia, Africa and other parts, the developing countries would naturally expend more money on civilian development and growth instead of disproportionately investing on building military buildup. Therefore, such conflicts serve well the US long term interests and motive of always staying ahead of nations like India, which have potential and ability for a faster development and growth both in economy as well as military power.
5. As is evident by simultaneously being a member of the SCO as well as QUAD, India does not have faith in a unipolar or bipolar world, which the US has been consciously working for. Despite the perennial tensions with China on border and other issues, the recent Ukraine war has vindicated that the two countries still have some common converging issues. For instance, while Ukraine war suits US in many ways but neither India nor China would want this war to be prolonged. Also none of these countries would like to see Russia humiliated or weakened to the extent of internal collapse. Naturally, the US would be unhappy with any common ground for India and China to work together. Recently, India abstained itself in a vote on human right of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang autonomous region of China which US has been so fervently raising from time to time. Quite obviously, India would be interested in any development in Tibet but Uyghurs should be more of the Islamic nations’ concern.
6. Last but not the least, the analysis will remain incomplete it the motive and actions of the US Deep State is not mentioned here. The objectives of the long term US interests and strategies are best served by its global surveillance agencies, academic institutions, human rights watchdogs, electronic and print media, various NGOs and Foundations through their constant criticism, purportedly misleading portrayal of events and developments, aggressive publicity in their destabilizing role. Many evangelical institutions and the strong Islamic lobby in the US too are constantly engaged to abuse and demoralize India and its majority Hindus community. The media and institutions consciously engage (Indian) people who could voluntarily manufacture atrocious reports and write ups to malign Indian image on various counts such as human rights abuse, religious freedom, state of poverty and hunger, discrimination and crime against women, and so on. These objectives are achieved by engaging and exploiting internal fault lines and disgruntled Indians in media and institutions.
People often tend to make a common ground for India and US being the largest and oldest democracies respectively; hence natural allies too for a meaningful engagement for cooperation and concordance on long term basis. Such people miss and overlook the fundamental point that India has a long civilizational history with a rich legacy of material and spiritual components, which are still driven by certain ethics and morality while forging and fostering its national and international relations. On the other hand, the US hardly has about four hundred years of the civilizational history completely based on materialism and selfish interests. Thanks to the US Deep State designs and maneuvers for intellectual subversion, many valid Indian interests are subverted by the middle-class Indians themselves keen to pursue study and work in such US institutions. Rightly so, India will always remain a frenemy to the US rather than a genuine friend and partner. This also reminds this author the former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s famous quote, “To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal”.
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