Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited recently Bangladesh to develop political and economic ties and undermine Chinese influence in the region. India and the US are keen to undermine Bangladesh’s ties with China and integrate it fully into their offensive against Beijing. Bangladesh is a partner in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden spoke, the US said that it welcomes India’s emergence as a leading global power in the region and that “India is one of the most important partners in the Indo-Pacific region to us”.
Extreme Pro-US BJP Ideologues Mustn’t Be Allowed To Sabotage Russian-Indian Relations
2 NOVEMBER 2020
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 firstworkon the topic back in May 2016 which later led to me receiving death threats on social media, beingdefamedas 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 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 happenedin 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” (onlyconstitutional amendmentswere 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”?
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.
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.
The US’ Alliance With India Is A Bipartisan Issue Of Grand Strategic Importance
30 OCTOBER 2020
The US’ alliance with India will remain a mainstay of its grand strategy regardless of who wins next week’s elections since it’s a bipartisan issue of the highest importance for its permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”).
The US-Indian Alliance
Analysts are scrambling to speculate the possible foreign policy changes that a Biden presidency might bring if he wins next week’s election, but one aspect of American grand strategy that isn’t likely to change is the US’ alliance with India. The two Great Powers formalized their military partnership earlier this week with the signing of the “Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement” (BECA), the third so-called “foundational pact” after the “Logistics Exchange Memorandum Of Agreement” (LEMOA) and “Communication Compatibility and Security Agreement” (COMCASA) which collectively improve these countries’ military interoperability. Neither side hides their shared anti-Chinese intentions either, as the author explained at length in his September analysis about how “It Was Inevitable That India Would Seek To Actively ‘Contain’ China”, which is a trend that he’s been closely following since mid-2016 when it was still “taboo” for theAlt-Media Communityto discuss it. This trajectory will remain on track for several key reasons regardless of whoever wins the presidency.
Step By Step, President By President
The first is that the American bureaucratic machine has already kicked into gear and is intensely focusing its military, intelligence, and diplomatic (“deep state”) efforts into actualizing this alliance. It will therefore be extremely difficult to reverse this trend even if Biden sincerely wanted to, yet there’s no reason to suspect that he does since he was one of the overseers of the Obama-era “Pivot to Asia” which laid the basis for Trump’s formalization of America’s alliance with India. In fact, it can be argued that Obama — who built upon the progress pioneered by Bush Jr. such as the nuclear cooperation pact during that time — is one of the forefathers of this alliance since it wouldn’t have happened had it not been for his decision to continue his predecessor’s policies in this respect. As such, there’s no doubt that America’s alliance with India is a bipartisan issue for the US establishment.
“Pivoting” From West To East Asia Via The South
Another point to made is that the “Pivot to Asia” naturally transitions the US’ strategic focus from West Asia to East Asia while traversing through the South Asian space between both. India isn’t just an ordinary country in US foreign policy planning, though, since its demographic and economic capabilities pair perfectly with its geostrategic location atop the Afro-Asian (“Indian”) Ocean to make it attractive as a “counterweight” to China. This explains its pivotal importance in the emerging Quad military network of anti-Chinese states, as well as the fact that its location is almost smack dab in the center of the Eastern Hemisphere which thereby makes it more important than any of that bloc’s other members. Neither Trump nor Biden could afford to ignore this unprecedented geostrategic opportunity, hence why they’re predicted to actually double down on it regardless of whoever wins since it best serves their nation’s interests to do so.
India’s Role In Trump & Biden’s China Strategies
While Trump and Biden have different attitudes towards China, that still won’t change the importance of India for their foreign policy visions. The incumbent will likely employ a more aggressive strategy of openly exploiting India as China’s foil in “Greater South Asia” (Central Asia/Afro-Asian Ocean/Southeast Asia) whereas Biden might be “gentler” with his approach out of a desire to reach a “New Detente” with China (whether for pragmatic orcorruptreasons). The Democrat candidate would continue the US’ growing trend of arms sales to that state but might care more about political and economic cooperation with India than any military-driven approach to “containing” China. If the prediction about Biden’s desire for a “New Detente” with the People’s Republic plays out, then India’s role would simply be to keep China “in check” as opposed to actively countering it like Trump envisions. Either way, India still serves a very strategic purpose for both presidential candidates.
Russia Must Urgently Recalibrate Its “Balancing” Act
This fact should be taken into consideration by all relevant stakeholders, especially Russia, which is alreadyintensely competingwith the US simply to retain its decades-long dominant position in the Indian arms market. That’s not at all to say that Russia should “dump” India, but just to propose that it must begin seriously countenancing contingency plans in the event that it loses more influence in the South Asian state otherwise it stands to become New Delhi’s “junior partner” and risk provoking an unintended “security dilemma” with China. The author warned about that scenario in his September analysis asking “Is Russia ‘Abandoning’ Or ‘Recalibrating’ Its ‘Balancing’ Act BetweenChina & India?” and recommended that decision makers consider the dual response of reaching out to India toform a new Non-Aligned Movement(“Neo-NAM”) whileenhancing strategic relations with Pakistanin order to restore “balance” to Russia’s “balancing” act. Failing to do so might destabilize the central tenet of Russian grand strategy, which is become Eurasia’ssupreme “balancing” force.
No observer should doubt for a moment that America’s alliance with India will remain among its top grand strategic priorities regardless of the outcome of next week’s election. The gears of government are working in unison to promote this goal, which represents the culmination of Trump, Obama, and Bush Jr.’s efforts in a truly remarkable display of bipartisan agreement on a pressing issue of foreign policy significance. While Trump and Biden have different visions of how best to utilize their country’s alliance with India, the fact remains that they’ll nevertheless employ this partnership with increasing frequency to advance their respective goals, be it actively “containing” China like the incumbent envisions or more “gently” keeping it “in check” to uphold the “New Detente” that his opponent wants to clinch during his (or even more likely, his Vice Presidential pick’s) potential term. As this game-changing trend accelerates and increasingly becomes one of the main geostrategic determinants of Eastern Hemispheric affairs, Russia will be forced to recalibrate its “balancing” act with India.
India Lost Its Last Chance To ‘Save Face’ Before China
9 SEPTEMBER 2020
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.
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 whetherModi lost control of the Indian militaryif 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 itcontinues to tacitly take the latter’s side.
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 hisexclusive articlefor 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 willthe geopolitics of the 21st centurymore broadly. That being the case, all analystswould 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.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will meet for a virtual summit in September to sign an important military logistics agreement. The current summit meeting comes against the backdrop of Chinese aggression against both countries, along the Sino-Indian border and the East China Sea.