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The Conclusion of the Future of India-US Strategic Romance

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After the general elections of 2019 in India, Narinder Modi has again embellished the crown of Prime minister of India on his head. All the dreams, including the dream to make India greater and brawny power of the world, are concerned with the first prime minister of India Mr. Nehru. From the very first day the Indian premier leadership including Nehru is trying to make the foundation of the country strong. No doubt, the political parties of both Nehru & Modi are different as Nehru had a hefty CONGRESS while Modi has BJP (Bharti Janata Party).

But the dreams, desires, aspirations are analogous to make their beloved country “Greater India” in the entire context e.g. political, economic, social, education, and defense & security. With the inauguration of Modi administration in 2014, India commences its voyage towards exceeding progress and decided augmentation. Under the headship of Narindra Modi, India tries to make itself economically, socially and politically more strong and get sure internal sovereignty. Furthermore, due to sophisticated Indian premier, India gets eminent position on international level. Now, India is ranked in the influential as well as dominant player of world affairs in general and energetic runner in Asian political marathon race with nuclear power.

Under Modi, the contemporary India is quite different as compared to India during the days of Nehru. The eras are reasonably diverse. The immense population growth, unstructured education system, peace & stability in the region, demolish terrorism from the region, publish the soft image of India in the world newspapers and play the movie cassette titled “Soft India” on TV channels are the some intentions carried by current Indian premier. Besides internal troubles, the exterior threats including terrorism and the rising China give also red signal to fresh leading management of New Delhi. According to the political pundits of India, think tanks and analysts, the rising China is the biggest external threat to Indian security. The Chinese policies and strategies e.g. Periphery strategy, Strings of Pearls, OBOR (One Belt One Road initiative) and CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) are the ubiquitous threats for India and her acquaintance and now a days, the USA is the foremost top ranked pal of India.

In modern era, every state wants more power and besides this acquisition of power, the main national interests of states are to make more affirm their existing power. The same story is associated with the world sole superpower USA. In Asian continent, the main theme of US policies and strategies are to make American power and unilateralism insistent. After the end of Cold war and disintegration of USSR (Union of Socialist Republic), the US won the Crown of world solitary superpower and introduced “MADE IN AMERICA” Liberal world Order. After this incredible victory of the US, the popularity of the American power strokes the sky. The victory in the independence war in 16th century, W.W.I, W.W.II and in Cold War were proved that the US is exceptional power. The US wants its exceptionalism. As a specific term “American Exceptionalism” was first referenced by author Alexis de Toqueville in Democracy in America, a book published in the 1830s. Throughout the latter half of the 19th century, when America began to build its empire, the idea that the US was special and blessed by God reigned supreme. In addition, America’s victories over Japan and Germany revitalized the belief that the US is unique and a new expression for American exceptionalism was born.

On January 9, 1961, John F. Kennedy said, “Today, the eyes of the world of all people are truly upon us__ and our government, in every branch, at every level, national, state and local, must be as a city upon a hill.” Kennedy was promoting the idea that not only is the US economically and socially unique, but its political system is an example of a model government. After the Cold War, the American model became the new norm; American exceptionalism became a much more popular concept. In 1996, Bill Clinton said that “America remains the indispensable nation” and that “there are times when America and only America, can make a difference between war and peace, between freedom and repression.” This American exceptionalism term further materialized one more idea of “American Paternalism”. American paternalism refers to America’s belief that other states in the international system need the US and the American desire to interfere in the affairs of other states for the good of that state, the international system, or both. In many ways, American paternalism is derived from American pride and linked to American exceptionalism.

As the hegemonic power, the US has a tendency to treat its relations with other countries as parent-Child relationships, which is one of the reasons the US feels comfortable violating state sovereignty and interfering in the affairs of other states for moral reasons such as human rights violations, civil war, etc. The United States relationship with present international system is different from the relationships that other states have with the current system. In the aftermath of W.W.II, the world was in shambles and the US set out to construct a new international system and a new world order, one which it hoped would bring peace, development and prosperity. The US was challenged by the USSR, and because the both were interested in building inconsistent kinds of worlds. After the collapse of USSR and the end of Cold war in 1991, American vision for the world became a reality. With the establishment of the new American-led liberal world order came the emergence of American paternalism as it is now. American paternalism is also directly connected to the American desire to preserve its leadership in Asia.

The US believes that not only is American leadership in Asia in the best interests of the US, but it is also in the best interests of Asia and according to American leadership, the US sees itself as a parent for the international system and Asian region. American hegemonism is the byproduct of American exceptionalism and paternalism. According to the political specialists, the US is indeed a global hegemon. American hegemonism is the desire to promote and preserve this hegemonic status as well as protect its power at all costs, makes the US a threat to revisionist challengers including Russia, North Korea and rising China.

With the beginning of 21st century, the world structure has reshaped from uni-polar to multipolar and with the passage of time the friendships, relationships, rivalries and national interests of the states have been re-examined. The living example of above sentence is the romance between India and the US with the turn of 21st century. After the 50 years of estrange relations, the two democracies India and the US decide to renovate their relations in potent strategic nexus. Now, India is the top listed country in the documents of Washington as steadfast, strong and committed ally. On the contrary, Pakistan who was the active member of the US made security alliance blocs like SEATO, CENTO and fought proxy war against USSR during Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in late 1970s, is now, very far from the US kindness and considerations.

The rising China, developed Japan, Russian juxtaposition with Asian states, Chinese OBOR & CPEC projects, emergence of SCO, the economic & natural resources supremacy of Asian region, the Indian Ocean significance, natural resources of central Asia and Chinese expansion and sea lanes of communication (SLOC) from straits of Hormuz to Persian Gulf and Chinese active appearance in (SLOC) give red signal to the US hegemonism in Asian region. The US takes China as a revisionist state as like as the USSR after the World War II. The political pundits argue that this is second Cold War as well as emergence of bipolarity between the US and China and the present American leadership will repeat its history by making alliance in Asian continent same like during the Cold war era against USSR and the US will try its best to change the bipolar to unipolar system another time because the US takes rising China as USSR part II in 21th century.  The US is taking alliance making theory and give heavy aid to Asian countries, do agreements, sign nuclear deals like India, build strategic partnership to counter its present competitors and rising revisionists states and try its best to preserve its ideology of exceptionalism, paternalism and hegemony in Asian region.  Therefore the Trump’s slogan during his election campaign was “Make America great again”. From Nixon to Obama and now Trump, the foremost objective of the US is to maintain its hegemony in Asia and protect its national interests. For the acquisition of national interests, once again America is making ally in the region and India is the most favorite state in Asia generally and in South Asia specifically.

Additionally, the permanent seat in United Nations Security Council (UNSC), economically development, brawny defense, advancement in arms, soft image at international level, threat of rising China and the dream of “Greater India” are crucial factors behind the Indian juxtaposition in the arms of the US and both states ready to start polite lovely strategic romance with the identification of “strategic partnership”.

Apart from the Indian non-alignment policy, Nehru slogan of Asia for Asians, India-USSR proximity in Cold War, the paradoxical role of the US during India-Pakistan wars, ideological differences, diverse national goals and estrange relations during the Cold war, Now, after the end of the Cold War and especially with the awake of 21st century the US and India renovate their relations from estrangement to strong partnership. According to the Indian Diaspora and leadership, the rising China expansionism in Asia, Chinese involvement in Indian Ocean and OBOR project, vigorous course of actions in seaports in Asia, CPEC project in Pakistan, Chinese growth towards South East Asia, Africa, Middle East, Central Asia & Latin America regions and the energetic escalation of SCO in Asia are the threats to Indian security in contemporary era.

The beginning of strategic partnership with the US is the foremost & only solution for India to overcome this rising China threat. In addition, India has very inadequate options to counter the rising power of China. First, if India adopt the non-alignment policy, this is not suitable for this modern era.  Today, one state is dependent on another state. Second, if India adopts internal balancing in the context of Balance of power to balance China, India is not internally powerful, stable and has not numerous resources. The last and more suitable option is to do bargain with the US against their common threat (China). There are several reasons behind this Indian bargaining with the US. First, the US is superpower. Second, the US has its own hidden interests in it and takes China as emerging threat to the US hegemony in Asia. Third, India is emerging power of Asia and associated with Indian Ocean and SLOC. Forth, the US is scared that if Asian powers e.g. India, Russia, China Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Pakistan and Australia get united in coming future then American power in Asia will be ended. So, in closing remarks, India and the US have vivid future because both democracies are indispensable for each other in modern geopolitics. Apart from most fifty years estrange relations during Cold War, divergences of ideas, clash of interests, diverse in some values but the rising power of China is the crucial factor behind the foundation of strong strategic nexus between India and the US. The political analysts argue that It is again Cold War which will be between the US and China. And America is trying by leaps and bounds to win this Cold War again by any means because the US doesn’t want to lose its excpetionalism status. On the other side, India also wants to stop the rising power of China to embellish the crown of Asian power on its own head. That’s why, apart from divergences of interests, both of the democratic states and Leaders Modi and Trump have their own interests which are associated with each other and both are hopeful to their bright future trade, economic, defense and strategic relations. 

PhD Student of the School of Politics and International Studies, Central China Normal University 152, Luoyu Road, Wuhan, Hubei, People’s Republic of China 430079

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South Asia

Convergence of interests determines Russia-Pakistan Relations

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Russian FM is being received by his Pakistani counterpart upon arriving at the Foreign Office. PHOTO: TWITTER/SMQureshiPTI

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Pakistan on 6-7 April 2021 and held delegation-level meetings with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in addition to called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief, as well as had interaction with other dignitaries and senior officials during his two-day stay in Islamabad, Pakistan.

It is worth mentioning that Russia and Pakistan face similar challenges and pass through similar difficulties, including sanctions, economic challenges, security threats, etc. Both countries share similar views on the Afghanistan issue, terrorism, regional security, and China’s common friend. There exists a comprehensive convergence of interests.

Especially after India signed a series of Defense agreements and acted as a “Major Defense Partner” and American-led Quad or concept of Asian NATO, the geopolitics has emerged so that Russia and Pakistan must cooperate with each other. As a matter of fact, we left with no option except strengthening regional cooperation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow and Islamabad would boost ties in the fight against terrorism, with his country providing defense equipment to Pakistan and the two holding joint military exercises.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan restated Pakistan’s determination to expeditiously complete the mandatory legal process for the “Pakistan Stream” (North-South) Gas Pipeline project and begin the work as early as possible.

Pakistan-Russia mutual relations and issues of regional and global importance were discussed in the meeting. The Prime Minister fondly recalled his interaction with President Vladimir Putin during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Bishkek in June 2019. He had emphasized his desire to take the bilateral relationship to a new level. He repeated that the importance Pakistan attached to its relations with Russia as a critical foreign policy priority. The Prime Minister uttered satisfaction at the steady growth in bilateral ties, including deepening cooperation in trade, energy, security, and defense.

Citing to the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), the Prime Minister shared Pakistan’s perspective on peace and security issues in South Asia, including the need for sustainable, peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

The Prime Minister repeatedly extended his invitation to President Putin to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience. It is hoped that President Putin will visit Pakistan soon.

Moreover, disturbing the peace process in Afghanistan, where both countries have long histories of concerns. It was the first time a Russian foreign minister had visited Pakistan in nine years and comes at a delicate time for Afghanistan with peace talks making little progress and a deadline approaching for the United States to withdraw its forces. “(Pakistan and Russia) share convergent positions on several issues … including peace and stability in Afghanistan,”

The visit comes as Moscow seeks to increase its stature in the region, particularly in war-torn Afghanistan, where it has sought to inject itself as a critical player in fast-tracked efforts to find a permanent peaceful end to decades of war.

As Washington appraisals an agreement it signed more than a year ago with the Taliban and rethought a May 1 withdrawal of its troops, Moscow has stepped up its involvement in Afghanistan, emerging as a significant player. Last month it hosted talks between the Taliban and senior government officials, and Lavrov suggested another high-level meeting could again be held in Moscow.

Addressing a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Lavrov expressed satisfaction over a 46 percent increase in trade between them. He, however, stressed there is a need to diversify it further. Discussing the energy sector opportunities, he said both the countries are now discussing a new protocol on the Stream Gas Pipeline Project, an ambitious project to transport 1.6 billion cubic feet per day of regasified liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Karachi to Lahore. As soon as it is signed, the construction work will begin. The top Russian diplomat termed the relationship between the two nations mutually beneficial and constructive. He recalled Russia had provided 50,000 doses of its Covid-19 Sputnik-V Vaccine.

Qureshi said Pakistan wanted to build a relationship with Russia that is based on trust. He said Moscow has always advocated the importance of international law and multilateralism. “These are principles that Pakistan adheres to. Our coordination and cooperation at the United Nations level have been excellent.” At this, Lavrov reaffirmed the commitment to deepen ties with Pakistan and create win-win cooperation between them.

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India’s Naxalbari Achilles’ heel

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On April3, 2021, there was a pitched battle between a Naxalite (or Maoist) group (called “rebels”) by Indian government) and government forces of over 1500 “jawan”, equipped with state-of-the art weapons and helicopters at the Bijapur-Sukma border. The Naxals armed with machine guns gunned down 22 members of the government forces and injured 31 others, excluding missing personnel. Eight of the dead jawans were from the CRPF,  seven from the elite Cobra (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) while the others were part of the Bastariya Battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the District Reserve Guard (DRG). Two of the dead CRPF jawans were from Assam, where assembly polls are on.

 The Naxalite decamped with forces’ weapons, uniforms and shoes.  The government claims that they killed 10 Naxalite, but could only produce the corpse of a dead woman as a “rebel”. The government claims that the Naxalites take along their dead and injured.

(Twenty-two jawans killed in Chhattisgarh Maoist gun battle. Officers claimed more than 10 ultras were killed in Saturday’s encounter but other sources said the police had found the body of a lone rebel — a woman. Telegraph India April 5, 2021).

Lapses

Media described the “counter-insurgency operation” as an “intelligence failure and poor leadership by the CRPF commanders and drew parallels with the February 2019 Pulwama massacre of 40 personnel in the run-up to the general election”.  Earlier in April 2017, the Naxal had killed 25 CRPF personnel near Burkapal in Sukma. The media blames home minister and the government of being preoccupied in winning elections in some state assemblies through turn coats. It is alleged that “five teams totaling 2,000-plus security personnel had on Friday night launched a concerted operation in the Maoist-hit Bijapur and Sukma districts after learning that rebels led by the dreaded Madvi Hidma were hiding in the forest.  A CRPF officer admitted, `The operation was launched from five places Tarrem, Usoor and Pamed in Bijapur, and Minpa and Narsapuram in Sukma.  While a team was advancing through the forests near Jonaguda, around 500km from state capital Raipur, it was ambushed by some 250 Maoists on Saturday afternoon, said. He said the forces were scattered and trapped along a two-km stretch of forest. The patrolling team from Tarrem came under heavy fire, prompting some of them to move to what appeared a deserted village, where the Maoists lay in wait for them.  The Maoists fled with the weapons, bullet-proof jackets and the shoes of the dead troops’.

Naxalite clout

The recent encounter belies government claim that it has wiped out Naxalism from their stronghold Bastar. Bastar division of Chhattisgarh has a population of 23, 48,808 persons. It is spread over 40,000 square kilometers (Census 2011). Bastar division has a security-personnel-to-civilian-population ratio of 1:22 with the deployment of 58,772 central paramilitary force personnel and another 50,000 of state armed-police personnel, the. Security forces occasionally conduct “search and destroy” operations in the area killing or arresting innocent people for “Naxal offence”. . The jails are overcrowded to the extent of three times the prison capacity, filled with Adivasis (tribals). The report of a High Level Committee headed by Virginius Xaxa, submitted to the government in May 2014, highlighted this fact.

Even expression of sympathy with Naxals is now a heinous offence.

 In the Bhim Koregaon planted letters case, several intellectuals and rights activists including Navalakha were declared “traitors” by the government. They were even accused of having links with Kashmiri militants. It was claimed that they were in communication with Ghulam Nabi Fai, a Kashmiri leader who has served two-year imprisonment in the USA for having illegally received funds from the inter-services intelligence of Pakistan.

Despite repression under draconian laws, the Naxalbari uprising has still been alive since May 1967.

According to India’s home ministry “more than two-thirds of Maoist related violence is now restricted to only 10 districts of the country. However, media reports reflect Maoists are well entrenched in at least 68 districts.  The movement could not be quelled despite tall claims by Indian authorities over the past 53 years. Indian home ministry has a whole division dedicated to dealing with the movement.

No writ of government

In Naxalite-influenced rural areas, there is no trace of India’s judicial system.  There, the Naxalite organisations act ‘virtually like policemen, arresting, meeting out “justice” and in some cases even executing the guilty’ (“Internal security situation”, India’s National Security: Annual Review 2004, New Delhi, India Research Press, 2005, p. 87).

With the merger of pro-Naxalite revolutionary bodies, the Naxalites are the sole arbiters of justice in rural areas. 

Concluding remarks

The term “Naxalite” is rooted in Naxalbari village (West Bengal) where Kanhu Sanyal presented the concept of “forcible protest against the social order relating to holding of property and sharing of social benefits”. They started the Naxal movement on March 3, 9167 at Naxalbari village, near Siliguri sub-division in West Bengal. It is 30 to 50 miles from Sikkim. Tibet and Bhutan in the, Nepal in the West and from Bangladesh in the east. To him the purpose of the protest was “organizing peasants to bring about land reform through radical means including violence”.

Naxalite movement in India is viewed as an internal security problem.  However, the populist appeal of the movement’s ideology reflects that it could soon assume international dimensions if China supports it.  India’s Lieutenant General KM Seth laments, ‘Unfortunately, the threat to internal security from Naxalites has acquired dangerous proportions and can no longer be wished away.  …they are also developing links with Turkish and Philippino terrorist organisations…We have suffered and bled patiently and have taken huge human casualties, which could exceed 13,000, uniformed personnel and 53,000 civilians during the last 25 years… As of today, their overall strength could be put to approximately 20, 000 undergrounds, 50,000 overgrounds and more than a lakh in frontal organisations. Their armoury  is reported to comprise approximately 900 AK-47 rifles, 200 light machine guns, 100 grenade firing rifles, 2 inch mortars, thousands of .303 rifles, self-loading rifles and .12-bore guns with a huge quantity of explosives at their disposal’. (“Naxalite Problem”, U. S. I. Journal , January-March 2005, New Delhi, p. 19, 23).

India may blame Pakistan for the freedom movement (‘insurgency’ or ‘militancy’) in occupied Kashmir.  But, who shall she blame for the Naxalite insurgency in Andhra Pradesh and other Indian states? This is a movement against economic deprivation and brutality of the state or central government’s law-enforcing agencies.

Indian media has now begun to report that the counter-insurgency forces are fearful of grappling the Naxalite.  In Guntur (Andhra Pradesh), the Naxalite announced a cash reward of five lac rupees per policeman (“Reward scheme sends forces into huddle”, Indian Express, August 25, 2005). IG (Guntur Range) Rajwant Singh admitted, ‘My men are removing the posters and convincing the villagers to inform them about the activities of Naxalites’.

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The ‘constructed’ world

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Karl Popper’s theory of falsification by refuting the classic positivist theory is not new. It is already applied by rejecting Aristotle’s Geocentric model by Copernicus as a Heliocentric model in the 16th century. Newton model of absolute time was refuted by Einstein in the 20th century as Time is relative and flexible. So, humanity has always revised pre-existing knowledge with experience and relation to surrounding in the course of time. Knowledge is an infinite process of getting into more advanced forms. From Aristotle to Copernicus and Popper—everyone is defending Eurocentrism. It is a huge construct that knowledge is only the ‘knowledge’ generated from the West. For example: ‘Feeling & sex’ is a biological construct. ‘Showing love’ is social construct. ‘Valentine’ is a political construct. Celebrating Valentine in Global South is part of assimilation process. Commenting on it is a part of ‘rationality’ choice with political cognitive building. Underneath, is a ‘realist’ model of state’s intention to achieve its vested interest via ‘cultural colony’ building. At the end, who controls, the story(Ideology, Process, Frame, Implementation and outcomes) wins the race. Here, west is leading with no doubt.

 Second Example: My personal interest in the US election is a bi-product of constructivist world where ideas, beliefs, identities, interest and social norms are shaped by actions and interactions of agency and structures. This put us; grip of knowledge on the western politics shapes my identities as a cosmopolitan and signals my interest of what I am looking from this continuous follow-up of election update–more data driven epistemology and ontology which is helpful in my running PhD. marathon. Like I said; my 1 OPED related to the US election in New York Times  is much more powerful than my 1000 OPEDs in Kathmandu based media. This is not caused by the capacity of these two giant media tycoon(material structures)companies rather meaning given to it; which is a ideational structures meaning constructed world; publishing in western media proves my talent.

Third Example: In the last week of December 2020, the Nepali PM dissolved the parliament and had called for a fresh election in April & May 2021. Although, Supreme Court ruled out the Parliament dissolve decision of government. However, before Supreme Court decision, this event followed several tantrums among Nepal Communist Leaders. Nepali Prime Minister K. P Sharma Oli remarks on several occasions are puerile. His counter words to opponents of his party i.e. Prachanda & Madhav Kumar Nepal is a floccinaucinihilipilification mindset. In one of the accounts, Bhim Rawal’s (one of the key leaders of the Communist Party) speech targeting sexuality to PM Oli( degraded mental conditions due to Kidney transplant provided by woman donor) was a repulsive example of puritanical patriarchy. These series of watershed among leaders made the content of the social media walls farrago and users are webaqoof. The is resulting the Nepal into entropy. And, for this Nepali leaders takes a big share for such de-growth. Nepali leaders recklessly bore the public with rodomontade. They are purely a snollygoster in power. For this, political leaders mishandling any political affairs in Nepal with a predetermined attitude of non intervention by Nepali public causing the situation to worst. Non-interventions on lacunae by the public due to public trauma of being mobilized to several revolutions and movements since 1950’s is creating a frisson. We are brewed by the agathokakological elements and politicians are not an exception. And we found ourselves in Zugzwang position. Zugzwang politicians are everywhere in Nepal and they are either by a foreign power or cadres pressure not necessarily proving advantageous for Nepal public. Prachanda and KP Sharma Oli had a sesquipedalian marathon via 19 pages and 38 pages document presented by themselves respectively —reproachful Oli of taking a decision without party consultations. Both parties had claimed; it was limpid. Allegations are also on the floor—-PM Oli and President of Nepali had closed ‘personal’ consultations to dissolve parliament. Rivals to both PM & President claimed the consequences occurred after the parliament dissolves due to muliebrity because the president is a woman and she should be taking responsibility. Opponents use Lalochezia targeted to the sexuality of the president. The overall current scenario in Nepal is the result of kakistocracy rather than democracy.

Way forward

From above Karl Popper to the US election and Nepali politics—All these carries western led constructivist attitude with mansplaining.  Rural youth of Nepal are constructed of all urban dwellers are feudal. And, therefore degradation of them is necessary. So, several radical groups are formed in Nepal for past few years. These groups created ‘tension’ in the national life of Nepal. As a result, government conduct dialogue with them for peace process. The leaders of the groups get benefited with state facilities and followers are left behind with dozens of Nepal changing dream. This has been the reality of Nepal where dynamic youth are lured for the vested political purpose. What I have to say; now “capital” is generated by “Dialectical Silicon Materialism” rather 19th and 20th Century “politicized” concept of labor-Industrialist dichotomy. But, in Nepal we are concentrated in the latter one.

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