The Sub-Continent Dilemmas

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It would not be a shocking scenario if 20 years down the line, a book titled “How the Subcontinent ruined world peace” is published.

Trump has clearly signaled that the US-tilt towards India would be stronger.

The out-going administration and the incoming one; could be apparently disagreeing over several issues. But, not over assurances regarding US-India ties.

Trumps Defence Secretary-to-be has also stated that the US-India ties would be of utmost importance.

Certain Indian sources appear to be expressing frenzied happiness over Trump’s victory.

A recent article claims that India would soon be emancipated from subservience to Chinese goods and services…The protectionist policies –perhaps only against China appear desirable to both.

India does after all maintain a current trade deficit of approx 53 billion USD with China; because India primarily exports raw materials to China whereas China exports cheaper consumer goods.

Whereas with the US, has a staggering trade deficit of 367 billion USD with China.

But, India should remain wary that this is more of a US issue than an Indian issue; it may not reach those levels of deficit because there is a difference in consumer spending ability and other socio-economic factors.

Further, the India-China nexus could serve as mutually beneficial- if a collective strategy on ‘flooding’ the world with consumer goods is worked out.

The outgoing voices in the US are gloating over big investments made in India and promise to invest more in the upcoming years, especially in the IT sector… There was also a time when China served as a good ally; presently the US trade deficit with India is at 20billion USD, what is the guarantee that India would not find itself under a similar ‘containment’ policy when the deficits rise dramatically and India becomes more self sufficient. — China should also focus on matching or superseding those’ investment’ offers. Nonetheless, peace is crucial between China and India.

Presently, it appears that India is finding solace from three factors:

(1) The promises of large amounts of cash flowing in, (2) development of India’s industries, and (3) improvement of infrastructure. -courtesy of the US.

In a insane turn of events, The US-tilt towards Russia; appears to be providing India with the assurance they needed.

Clearly India is not willing to lose its long time ally. Voices in India believe that they would- in the near future- , play a role in bringing the US and Russia together, and ultimately sideline China. But again, it needs to be realised that the US-Russia and Russia-China alliances are worlds apart in their outcomes.

Further, a US- Russia alliance may not be sustainable in the long run, because one carries a deep desire to remain a lone wolf; which would again place India in a very awkward situation. And, the Russian-Chinese relation appears to have deepened as well, an exit could impact Russia’s core interests and ruin their collective efforts with China in trying to bring about regional peace and stability.

So, India might end up estranging itself from old allies if the bond with US continues to grow in case the new administration practices aggressive policies towards the other regional players. The border skirmishes with China which appear to be slightly swept under the rug at the moment , may also surface up very quickly. So can India afford all this?

There is also a dangerous proxy war, India appears to be knowingly or unknowingly engaging itself in. The incoming administration has not hesitated in expressing its overall anti-Muslim rhetoric, neither does it appear hesitant to take actions against the forces of terror.

Further, the outgoing administration in the recent past has also made alarming gestures, such as imposing sanctions on certain ‘suspected’ Pakistani entities in relation to defence activities , the recent statement from Mark Toner: stating that Pakistan provides sanctuary to militants in the FATA regions, poking Pakistan based religious groups and according to a recent report the US is also concerned over Pakistan’s growing missile capabilities as the expanding ranges pose a threat to not only India but also Israel.

Though the Trump administration seems a little unsure on where it wants to place Pakistan on a bilateral level. But, the predecessor’s signals appear to be inculcating a level of confidence in Indian claims and somewhat paving way for how India would prefer the US-Pakistan ties to be like;

After the surgical strike threat from India – and a pretty much no-response besides a required “No you cant”- from Pakistan’s end; Indian media has recently surfaced Hafiz Saeed’s claims- on responding to that verbal threat- by carrying out a recent offence in J&K… since when did his word become more significant than the PM’s silence?.

According to some newly surfaced Indian intelligence reports, apparently 300 terrorists are planning to infiltrate India through Pakistan..

Pakistan is already fighting a tough war- against those very elements India accuses it of ‘harbouring’. Such actions, widen rifts between state officials & establish a breeding ground for anti-state elements to create anarchy.… why is secular, non aligned India turning into the opposite?

Both India and Pakistan seem to have plenty of nuisances to deal with— the poor socio-economic conditions don’t help matters either. Financially draining each other out by keeping threats of war alive instead of using those funds for other developments, would do no good either.

It seems like their unpredictable actions and constant back-stabbing has caused enough damage to regional stability.

A collective approach could improve the overall socio-economic and security conditions; there are several areas where the two could support each other, some of which include:

The abundant mineral reserves (several of which the world is facing a shortage on) could be properly utilised for local industries and exports, a tourism industry, agriculture, utilising the human force properly, collaborating in the defence industry , the energy sector, and local production of other consumer goods.

And lastly, their respective allies appear eager to utilise their geography, a collective vision/offer from an Indo-Pak nexus to Russia-China or whatever permutation comes up- would be more sensible than desiring to form odd, infeasible triangles. Are people still upset over the ‘dissection’? The purpose of the separation was not intended to wage a religious war against each other, it was to secure political rights in order to ensure the two diverse groups can work together in peace without feeling overpowered.

But, it appears that despite independence, a strange subservience lurks. Why is there a constant desire for a master? Perhaps, once seeking protection from each other, under the umbrella of ‘superpower’ is replaced by seeking protection in each other – things could then become better.

TACSTRAT ANALYSIS

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