Ranjit B Rai
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not taken a day’s leave in over four years but loves to travel, his working holidays in planes. He came to power when India was ripe with growth, and private software companies, auto and chemical and medical industries roaring to be world class. Oil was down to & 40 a barrel. China wants to invest in India in apolitical big projects but was barred.
US, Israel and Russia with nuclear submarines were supporting Indian military to become a force and gaps are being plugged. but defence spending has been curtailed by a powerful AVBP FM who feels he knows Defence needs better and IDF always wonders why India has clever lawyers as Finance Ministers and not bankers or Economists or Industrialists.
Few Indians have been to China. Chinese try to get the better of anybody and are ambitious. The next life theory of Karma and religion that excites Indians is not in their lexicon. Success in this life and worship of ancestors dictate their ruthless actions to never let 100 years of Humiliation by the West repeat.
So IDF begins with a ‘Make no Mistake Analysis’ that strategically today China follows methods of Sun Tzu and Lao and plays a strategic game called Weiqi (GO) to surround and trap it’s foes with ambitions to be a world power now that its economy, infrastructure and military have come of age and South China Sea (SCS) is theirs.
PM Modi has invested his term to foreign policy at the neglect of internal security. His strong personality affects all but Home Minister Ex BJP head controls the India-Tibet-China border. Rajnath Singh is planning to set up 96 more BoPs to be a deterrent to Chinese incursions into Indian territory.
This then is the background to IDF’s esoteric view of PM Modi’s 27-29 Apr visit to Wuhan to sip tea with President Xi where it seems peace which exists on the border will be fortified with hot lines, but the delicate and maritime issues in the IOR did not figure in the official talks and FS Vijay Gokale’s briefing after the official recorded talks. In SCO Summit in June bi-lateral issues are banned. In a walk in the Wuhan park a pretty Chinese girl did the little talking/ translation and a slim Indian aide, carried a typical Indian government file not a briefcase. No leader carried thenuclear codes (The Football).
One to one talks by the two leaders followed but are not trusted in China after Jiang Zamen and Vajpayee’s talks on taming Dalai Lama in return for Sikkim in India’s maps. A Tibetan Government in exile came up but to placate China last month FS and Cabinet Secretary did not allow Tibetan’s to celebrate 50 years Exile celebrations in India in Delhi realising China’s sensitivities and the next Dalia Lama to install. NSA met JIang Jieche who has dealt with Indian NSAs decades. It is possible Pakistan, NSG, Md Azar, CPEC on Indian soil and bases in IOR and Doklam where Chinese have fortified and dug in to cock a snoop at helpless Bhutan came up.
BJP’s President Amit Shah has manipulated the Constitution and Police power and arm twisting to plan for political power at the expense of Policing. India’s Law Minister a brilliant lawyer has tinkered with the Judiciary as news comes in that the Railway Minister and his wife sold their company at a humungous profit to Piramals (which employed Navy bright stars) and is a cash rich company. Pirmal paid Rs 48 cr to the efficient Minister and his wife and it is peanuts for Piramal. Share holders have borne the loss. ASG Pinky Anand blamed people for lawlessness, at the Delhi Gym but IDF knows politicians set the bar and still do ! Lalu it’s called. The more India changes the more its people do not change.
On security the defence budget is lowest. IDF wonders if any thing has changed since Mohamed Ghauri or Ghazni raided Hindustan and Panipat now two nations, but India is doing better than renegade nuclear power Pakistan where Pashtuns have raised their head, but no nation fails as a state, certainly not Pakistan that Indians hope for and Cdr Jadhav spy case heats up and Iran is silent !. Chinese study India and they feel is an irritant to their rise but will be happy to have India as its junior partner. A nation’s maritime military power and now space and cyber aids Super Power growth status. India is rising, but is geographically sandwiched between a Democratic West and the Communist East.
In Wuhan it is clear both leaders Modi and Xi pushed peace on borders to grow for a few more years —–China to finish CPEC, get a hold on Maldives and IOR with bases, and propel its $ 12 trill economy at 6 % giving it a $ 15 trill look. India needs peace too to grow its $ 2.3 trill economy to a $ 4 trill look, and hopes and prays to see Pakistan go under, under its own weight and the CPEC fail on Indian soil.
For India’s policy PM Modi is balancing USA, QUAD, French and UK support on one side and China on the other hoping BJP retains majority power and BJP/RSS feels Modi can do it as Modi has propelled India well. Chinese investment may now flow in after his visit that China would love along with the Western FDI as both know India is a cash cow waiting to be milked and both sides may allow India to play the balancing game.
History tells us the Dutch, the French, the British became leading rich powers with maritime power and the USA with a Mahanian strategy grew and broke the Soviet Union’s economy. China is following with maritime expansion to take on USA to become a super power and now leans on a 1000 ship Navy with the QUAD nations leaning on India to check China.
China has made a truck with Pakistan and Maldives and Russia for the Indian Ocean and put Sri Lanka in debt, and has control of Piraeus port in Greece and a base in Djibouti. This PM Narendra Modi must have found out after a two day informal meet with President Xi Jinping in modern Wuhan widely televised in India, not so much abroad and reported as a win for PM Modi.
Both leaders agreed to strengthen strategic communications between the two governments and militaries including a hot line and to build trust and understanding, and recognised terrorism as a common threat and committed to cooperate further on counter terrorism. The border has not seen a shot fired post 1962 except in the 1987 Sumdrorong incident when both armies got bruised but China withdrew. Chinese never likes to lose face and never admits it. In Doklam they agreed to withdraw only to make their presence permanent as is where is to let Bhutan object and may establish permanently.
The MEA admitted that PM Modi had forwarded proposals to Xi Jinping which included moving ahead to find ways to collaborate in terms of entertainment including films (soft power) , towards which the President extended his support. “More Indian films should come to China and vice-versa,” Xi said. IDF found Dangal was a great hit in China and Amir Khan is known there.
The big news is that India and China will undertake a joint economic project in Afghanistan, but when India wanted to join China in collaborative oil bids for exploration under Mani Shankar Iyer as Petroleum Minister and an IFS officer as Secretary it came a cropper. Xi has baited India into dangerous waters in Afghanistan in joint business where the jackal called a Lomiri in the pack is Pakistan’s military and ISI which will play its games. CPEC must succeed and Pakistan’s military would be briefed on China’s strategy post Wuhan as they are close friends higher than the Himalayas.
IDF states no nation has balanced Communist and dictatorial regimes (China, Iran and Russia) with Democratic nations in foreign military policy. Military blocks like NATO and Warsaw came up. But like Gandhi proved Ahimsa, Modi may prove Balancing Strategy a possibility or it is a clever time pass for peace. Only the future will tell. Military power and Economy will be the arbiters or war !