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Extreme Pro-US BJP Ideologues Mustn’t Be Allowed To Sabotage Russian-Indian Relations

Extreme Pro-US BJP Ideologues Mustn’t Be Allowed To Sabotage Russian-Indian Relations

2 NOVEMBER 2020

Extreme Pro-US BJP Ideologues Mustn

Influential BJP ideologue Subramanian Swamy published an unprecedentedly vitriolic screed against Russia which spits in the face of their decades-long strategic partnership by arguing that Moscow is an irresponsible imperialist power that’s historically exploited New Delhi’s naive leaders, but the reality is that these two Great Powers are presently enjoying a renaissance in their relations and that Swamy’s twisted depiction of their ties is nothing more than an information warfare narrative which proves the existence of a very powerful pro-American lobby that’s pulling out all the stops to sabotage Russian-Indian relations.

The US-Indian Alliance

Those who’ve followed my work for the past few years should already be well aware of my very critical attitude towards the Hindu nationalist BJP that’s ruled India since Prime Minister Modi’s election in 2014. I’ve consistently argued that the country is manipulating nostalgia in Moscow over their Old Cold War-era relations to dupe Russian decision makers into ignoring India’s pro-American anti-Chinese pivot in recent years. I chronicled this development in two pieces since September about how “It Was Inevitable That India Would Seek To Actively ‘Contain’ China” and “The US’ Alliance With India Is A Bipartisan Issue Of Grand Strategic Importance”. The first article also references my first work on the topic back in May 2016 which later led to me receiving death threats on social media, being defamed as a drug addict by one of India’s top Russia experts, and even being subjected to other intimidation tactics in the real world that I’d prefer not to publicly disclose for the time being, and all because I wouldn’t back down from my assessment which has since been vindicated.

My Professional Intentions

Nevertheless, my intentions always remained sincere and transparent. All that I endeavor to do is warn Russia about India’s duplicity in the hopes that decision makers would wise up to the game being played against them, asymmetrically respond in a plausibly deniable way (such as through the “bait strategy” vis-a-vis Pakistan as I argued in summer 2019), and ultimately restore “balance” to their historical relations. It’s arguably in Russia’s best interests to do so since acquiescing to “junior partner” status with India would contradict Moscow’s publicly proclaimed pro-sovereignty strategy as I wrote over the weekend when insisting that “Russia Must Resist Indian Pressure” to curtail its relations with Pakistan. Becoming India’s “junior partner” could also unintentionally trigger a “security dilemma” with China, which might misinterpret Russian “weakness” in this respect as tacit approval of India’s anti-Chinese alliance with the US, thus compelling Beijing to reconsider the nature of its strategic relations with Moscow in defensive response.

The Russian-Indian Renaissance

As it stands, Russian-Indian relations are presently experiencing a renaissance as I wrote for Pakistan’s Tribune newspaper in September after the two sides supercharged their strategic partnership following Prime Minister Modi’s attendance at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivistok 12 months prior. So excellent are their ties, which have overcome mutual suspicions stemming from Russia’s relations with China and India’s own with the US, that I even co-authored an academic article for the official journal of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO, which is run by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) about “The Prospects Of Russia And India Jointly Leading A New Non-Aligned Movement” with a view towards making their recently improved strategic partnership more globally significant this century. Still, I also warned that Russia mustn’t side too closely with India at China’s perceived expense otherwise it risks provoking the same “security dilemma” that Moscow sought to avoid by not becoming its “junior partner”, ergo the importance of improving Russian-Pakistani relations to “balance” the Kremlin’s delicate “balancing” act between those two Asian Great Powers.

An Unprecedented Infowar Attack

The reason why I spent so much time explaining the gist of my vision for Russian-Indian relations is to dispel any questions about my credibility in addressing the very sensitive subject of the present analysis, which is influential BJP ideologue Subramanian Swamy’s unprecedentedly vitriolic screed against Russia that he published over the weekend at The Sunday Guardian provocatively declaring that “Russia Is Not A Friend Of India”. Looking beyond the factual errors in his article such as stating that the Russian-Chinese border conflict occurred in 1977 (it actually happened in 1969), writing that the Soviet Union broke up into 16 different countries (15 is the real number), and fearmongering that President Putin “recently won a rigged election to be President of Russia till 2036” (only constitutional amendments were passed to enable this possibility after his present term expires in 2024), his general argument of Russia being an irresponsible imperialist power that’s historically exploited India’s naive leaders must be countered head-on in order to prevent him from sabotaging the renaissance of Russian-Indian relations to the benefit of the US’ dangerous divide-and-rule grand strategy.

Who’s Really At Risk Of Becoming Whose “Junior Partner”?

As I argued earlier in my analysis, it’s Russia — not India — that’s at risk of becoming the “junior partner” in this relationship if any party can be described as such. Russia’s “balancing” act between China and India is becoming increasingly “imbalanced” after Moscow supported New Delhi’s annexation and subsequent bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir in August 2019 despite Beijing’s concerns that this could negatively affect the situation in Aksai Chin (as ultimately happened earlier this year during their ongoing standoff there), opposed China’s efforts to seek meaningfully address the issue at the UN Security Council, and recently fulfilled India’s defense requirements from June at the start of the Himalayan Crisis for wares that will almost certainly be used to “contain” China. It is therefore categorically false for Swamy to misportray India as being at risk of becoming Russia’s “junior partner” when New Delhi’s de-facto military alliance with the US through the so-called “Quad” is proceeding apace despite Moscow’s earlier expressed concerns that it could be exploited to “contain” China.

Political Russophobia Must Urgently Be Suppressed In India

Swamy’s intentions seem to be to influence the ruling party of which he’s a part into jettisoning its historic strategic partnership with Russia for the purpose of doubling down on its pro-American anti-Chinese military alliance, which would actually ironically make India more dependent on the US in parallel with Russia becoming equally dependent on China in response, the scenario of which the Kremlin is eager to avoid and which explains its recent efforts in achieving the Russian-Indian renaissance that I earlier described. There’s no other way to describe Swamy’s malicious writings than as a desire to divide-and-rule Eurasia for destabilizing ends that would ultimately work out to the US’ grand strategic benefit. His article wouldn’t have even warranted any attention from me had he not been the influential ruling party ideologue that he is who directly has access to India’s top decision makers and strategists. It’s completely unprecedented for someone of his stature in India to publish such a hateful text against Russian-Indian relations, which hints at political Russophobia gradually becoming “normalized” at the highest levels of political society if it isn’t suppressed as soon as possible.

The Ridiculous GRU Conspiracy

The proverbial genie already seems to be out of the bottle, however, since The Sunday Guardian — the same outlet that Swamy chose to publish his anti-Russian screed — released a provocative piece the day afterwards about how “US-India Ties Attract Attention Of Russian Intelligence”. The journalist who wrote it very strongly implies that Russian intelligence has infiltrated the highest levels of the Indian leadership, ominously hinting that its military-intelligence agency GRU — of Skripal poisoning infamy according to Western sources at least — is preparing to meddle in Indian affairs in order to sabotage the country’s pro-American military alliance. The article quotes an unnamed Indian official who warned that “Russia, like a few other countries, has a lot of interest in how things move in India. Russia has highly capable infrastructure and units to launch cyber campaigns with deep ramifications. We are aware of the challenges that can come in the near future due to recent developments that we are witnessing between India and the US”.

It’s American Meddling, Not Russian, That India Should Be Worried About

In reality, the only meddling taking place in India is from the American side, not the Russian one, since the latter — with all due respect to them — seems to be so powerfully influenced by the illusion of Soviet-era nostalgia about their relations that they’ve been basically blinded to India’s pro-American pivot of recent years to the extent that they’re now unwittingly risking provoking a “security dilemma” with China by too openly supporting the South Asian state against the People’s Republic. It personally pains me to see the country that I love, Russia, being taken advantage of by its historical strategic partner through these means and having the relationship that it holds so dear spit upon by an influential ideologue such as Swamy and his allies at The Sunday Guardian. I’ve warned about this for nearly the past 4,5 years in literally hundreds of articles about India’s trend of transitioning from a policy of so-called “multipolar multi-alignment” to one of anti-Chinese pro-American alignment which would inevitably harm Russian-Indian relations, and once again I’ve been vindicated.

Neither Russia Nor India Has To Become Anyone’s “Junior Partner”

The path ahead will be a difficult one for both parties, but provided that the political will is present, Russia and India should hopefully be able to surmount what convincingly appears to be a coming crisis in their relations. On the one hand, Russia must ensure that it doesn’t become India’s “junior partner” and thus unwittingly provoke a “security dilemma” with China by doing so, ergo the importance of improving Russian-Pakistani relations in order to restore “balance” to its increasingly imperfect “balancing” act. On the other hand, India must ensure that it doesn’t become the US’ “junior partner” and thus lose its cherished “strategic autonomy”, to which end it mustn’t allow pro-American ideologues such as Swamy to sabotage Russian-Indian relations otherwise New Delhi will lose the only solution to its foreign policy dilemma of attempting to “balance” its “frenemy” relations with China and its newfound allied ones with America. It’s therefore incumbent on the Indian government to either publicly condemn Swamy for his hateful screed or take other measures to unequivocally communicate the message to Moscow that his views aren’t supported by New Delhi.

A Rude Awakening For Russia

The Russian side, considering how “naive” they’ve been about relations with India (once again, with all due respect to them), must certainly have been shocked to discover that such an influential ruling party official — and one of its chief ideologues, no less! — would publish such a vicious rant against their historic relations with India. Just as concerning must have been the observation that the same outlet which released his article followed it up a day later by strongly implying that GRU plans to meddle in Indian affairs, with all the ominous consequences that could follow. As such, there’s shouldn’t be any doubt that a coordinated pro-American anti-Russian information warfare campaign has been unleashed at the highest levels of Indian political society which, if anything, should hopefully serve as a long-overdue and much-needed wake-up call to Russian decision makers about the reality of what’s happening in India nowadays. To reaffirm my personal views, I’m fully in support of the Russian-Indian strategic partnership so long as relations as “balanced” and on an equal footing, but I’m adamantly against Moscow being taken advantage of by New Delhi for pro-American anti-Chinese ends.

Concluding Thoughts

Eurasian geopolitics are on the precipice of profound and pivotal change since it’s impossible to maintain the status quo of Russian-Indian relations due to Chinese security concerns and American pressure respectively. Russia must decide whether to submit to becoming India’s “junior partner” or actively “recalibrate” its “balancing” act between it and China by moving towards a strategic partnership with Pakistan for the purpose of preemptively mitigating the prospect of any “security dilemma” inadvertently popping up with the People’s Republic due to the Kremlin’s extremely close relations with unquestionably pro-American India. As for that South Asian state, there’s little doubt that it’ll continue to ally itself with the US in pursuit of their shared grand strategic goal of “containing” China, but India would lose what little “strategic autonomy” it still has left if it submits to the pressure of pro-American ideologues such as Swamy by jettisoning its strategic relations with Russia and thus fully submitting to becoming the US’ “junior partner”. Eurasia is on the brink of a major divide-and-rule destabilization if either Great Power, let alone both of them at the same time, makes the wrong move, which is why sincere supporters of the Multipolar World Order like me hope that this scenario will be avoided.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

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India Lost Its Last Chance To ‘Save Face’ Before China

India Lost Its Last Chance To ‘Save Face’ Before China

9 SEPTEMBER 2020
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India could have followed the Chinese Defense Ministry’s suggestion to investigate the first-ever firearm discharge near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in almost half a century, which could have helped New Delhi “save face” before Beijing by de-escalating this extremely dangerous situation that it’s entirely responsible for provoking, but it declined doing so since it’s seemingly more important for Modi to “save face” before his domestic audience even if it leads to a disastrous “war by miscalculation” with China.
 

India Ignored A Priceless Opportunity For Peace

The security situation between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is rapidly deteriorating after the first-ever firearm discharge in almost half a century occurred earlier this week. According to People’s Liberation Army (PLA) spokesman Zhang Shuili, Indian forces aggressively crossed the frontier and then fired “warning shots” at their Chinese counterparts. In response, he “request[ed] the Indian side to immediately stop dangerous actions, immediately withdraw cross-line personnel, strictly restrain front-line troops, and strictly investigate and punish personnel who fired shots to ensure that similar incidents do not occur again.” New Delhi therefore had a priceless opportunity to “save face” before Beijing by de-escalating this extremely dangerous situation that it’s entirely responsible for provoking as part of the Quad’s coordinated efforts to “contain” China.

Modi’s Message

Announcing an investigation and holding the personnel responsible who violated the bilateral agreement not to discharge firearms along the LAC could have jumpstarted the long-overdue peace process between the two, but Modi declined doing so since it’s seemingly more important for him to “save face” before his domestic audience even if it leads to a disastrous “war by miscalculation” with China. It doesn’t matter whether Modi lost control of the Indian military if ultra-jingoist frontline forces took the independent initiative to dramatically escalate the situation by firing their “warning shots” or if they received prior approval to do so by the civilian government that’s supposed to be in control of the military. The indisputable outcome is that the most powerful man in India sent the message that he supports their aggressive actions by the very fact that he didn’t condemn them nor initiate an investigation. This is intended to strengthen national unity and place India on a war footing.

Mistaken Strategic Calculations

Indo-Sino tensions are more serious now than at any point since their brief 1962 war, though Modi’s strategic calculation seems to be that inadvertently stoking speculation about a civilian-military split (whether or not this is truly the case) in the interests of promoting peace with China would be more disadvantageous for the ruling BJP than the possibly uncontrollable conflict that he’s provoking with the People’s Republic. It might even be that he’s convinced that the latter scenario would likely remain a limited and very short war due to both countries’ nuclear capabilities which might act as a deterrent to an all-out campaign against one another. India’s expected loss could even be spun to its benefit by generating immense sympathy for its “brave” role in militarily “containing” China on behalf of its Quad allies, which it could then leverage to attract more investment from them as a “reward”, especially if more of their companies “re-offshore” from China to India in the aftermath.

The “Best-Case” Scenario

The most “optimistic” forecast that can be made in light of India’s refusal to take the “face-saving” olive branch that China suggested earlier this week by investigating the so-called “warning shot” incident is that these two countries’ “decoupling” is carried out as peacefully and in as “manageable” of a manner as possible. The author wrote about this in July in his analysis about “What Can Be Learned From The Indo-Sino Disengagement Decision”, though it should now be added that BRICS and the SCO will almost surely become dysfunctional due to their deep distrust of one another in the aftermath of India’s latest LAC provocation. The “best-case” scenario should therefore be expanded to the multilateral dimension by hoping that Russian interests won’t be as adversely affected by this outcome as they otherwise could be, though a lot will depend on whether Moscow successfully “balances” between Beijing and New Delhi or if it continues to tacitly take the latter’s side.

Concluding Thoughts

Regardless of the two most likely scenarios — the worst-case one of a limited hot war or the “best-case” one of a “manageable decoupling” — the fact that India lost its last chance to “save face” before China puts the two on an irreversibly negative trajectory that will have far-reaching consequences, as the author explained in more detail in his exclusive article for India’s prestigious FORCE magazine over the summer. There’s no going back after Modi made the fateful decision not to investigate this week’s “warning shot” incident like China graciously gave him the opportunity to do in a last-ditch effort to jumpstart the long-overdue peace process between the two. Asian geopolitics will never be the same after this lost opportunity, nor will the geopolitics of the 21st century more broadly. That being the case, all analysts would do well to base their subsequent forecasts on the assumption that the Indo-Sino rivalry will remain in force for the foreseeable future and possibly even intensify.

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American political analyst

Tags: India, China, Modi, BJP, Kashmir.