Modi, Washington’s Worst Nightmare Part 2

Modi, Washington’s Worst Nightmare Part 2

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, chats with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the red carpet during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Friday, May 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

In part one of this series it was explained why a rapprochement between India and China might be the final nail in the coffin for Washington’s plans for global conquest and global government.

And doesn’t the media of Empire know it? Time Magazine headlines Modi’s trip to China telling its readers; “Why China and India Just Can’t Get Along”.

And the BBC assures its readers that; “China and India remain fierce rivals….. the two nations are vying for regional influence which could lead to a fresh round of tensions.”

Then after admitting that Indian PM Narendra Modi and China’s Premier Li Keqiang  are now going to begin looking for solutions to the two countries long term border disputes, the BBC still goes on to say that although the talks have not yet begun; “A solution for a decades-long border dispute is nowhere in sight.”

You wish!

Modi has been frank, in stating that there are only three real obstacles to India and China being able to enjoy cooperative and good neighborly relations. His words were a positive for peace and reconciliation, because they open up, as a public matter accessible to both the peoples of India and China, a clear negotiable path.

One of the three problems for the Indian side is very easily solved. That is that Delhi does not want its trade relationship with China to run huge structural deficits. This is simply a matter of bilateral trade policies and can easily be negotiated.

The second is the boundary issues which due to British meddling 100 years ago, has created trouble for both countries. This was made worse when Beijing attacked in 1962 and took by force territory it believed to be Chinese. While this is a huge issue on the Indian street, it is not as important from the standpoint of Indian foreign policy, which is much more focused on trade and development.

The only real sticking point on India’s demand list, is China’s support of Delhi’s true arch rival Pakistan. And that mostly boils down to the decades long battle between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. If there is a fought over peace of land where the problems seem intractable, (after Palestine- Israel) Kashmir has to be it.

So if peace in Kashmir has to be settled before India and Pakistan can make a real peace, and if only by this happening will Chinese aid to Pakistan not be seen by Delhi as a threat, then there is a lot of work still to be done.

But China wants reconciliation with India badly. That is because should Delhi become an asset of Washington, as the monster of Cold War 2 unfolds itself, India would pose a huge security risk for Beijing .

So it didn’t take more than five minutes for, according to Modi, Chinese PM Li to agree; “to explore a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable resolution” to at least the border issue.

While the Pakistan Kashmir issue will be much, much trickier, both countries now have a vested interest in rolling up their sleeves and finding a solution. China more so, since in a worst case scenario India could become a security issue.

But Modi’s vision of creating a foundation for a rapidly developing India, is for the most part China dependent. Only Delhi’s huge neighbor has the capacity to help India to modernize within any foreseeable future.

Even as the political will exists between Beijing and Delhi for a full scale rapprochement, based on the metaphor of Indian economic development, within India there are still many questions as to how much support Modi really has.

There are reasons why over more than 65 years India has developed, but only at a snails pace. The main one, being a lack of interest in developing a first world infrastructure. There are still strong vested interests within India today to keep things as they are.

And the decentralized political structure of the country, which grants minimum power to Delhi and maximum power to the states, brings into question how much political will exists within India for modernization? Unless it is widespread this simply isn’t going to happen no matter what Modi wants.

Even with just some fine words and high hopes Chinese businesses are already putting their toes into the Indian market.

But nothing serious is going to happen until India has infrastructure, which means quality roads, not filled with sporadic herds of cattle, quality and reliable electrical power, potable and reliable water availability and high speed Internet access.

Manufacturers will also need to get their products to market, which will mean good port facilities and streamlined systems of customs, warehousing and border processing.

India has little of this today and except for Modi has not shown much interest in getting any of it either. While Modi won the election last year with a big margin, his political party  Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP) has not fared so well since, being slaughtered in the Delhi elections this year.  The next test for BJP will be the Bihar elections in November, where they are favored to win.

Modi and his BJP’s strident anti minority voice however, is going to create a lot of push back. As governments mature, promises are not kept and things seem the same old, same old, much of the enthusiastic support that originally put them in office wains. The opposition strengthens.

By alienating Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, (who will vote against Modi and the BJP) once Modi trips and stumbles, (which given his ambitious plans he surely will at some point) these minority votes will help to insure that he will also fall.

So nothing is written in stone and Modi’s greatest challenge will probably not be reconciling even the trickiest issue of Pakistan, but of softening his hostility towards minorities and uniting Indians in the need not just for economic modernization but greater integration with the rest of Asia.

Errata: Sikhs are not apparently anti Modi or the BJP, but Christians and Muslims are.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. An excellent two part series, Robert, on the relevance of India to creating a new global balance of power where the developing countries of the BRIICS can perhaps over-balance the arrogance of power of the present imperialist setup that sees the BRIICS as well as other developing nations as a potential threat to their present dying neo-colonial world order.

    Russia IMHO rightly deserves some special pride of place in regard to this new potential division of global power in the offing because of the fact that Russia was the first developing nation or gendarmarie state held under the iron heel of an autocracy that had its roots in Europe and not is Russia itself. In essence the Russian Revolution of 1917 set the pattern in regard to the growing restlessness of workers an peasants under the semi-colonial system that existed there to thus inspire and direct the energies of the aspiring intelligencia in the colonial world of the 20th century.

    The problem with India that has to be considered however is the relative backwardness of a large segment of the population owing to the kind of religious obscuritanism that holds much of this population in thralldom. Of course that is not the case with the more highly educated class which has thrown off this yoke of oppression while at the same time showing dutiful respect to the many varied spiritual tradition that exist in India.

    Respect for tradition, our own as well as the spiritual traditions of others is something that Western hubris shows only contempt for in its effort to present itself to the other civilizations of the world that still exist outside the domain of the West as the one and only progressive force on the planet.

    Both China and India as well as Russia to some extent constitute unique civilizations that the Western world of logical positivism is often stymied and mystified by. Certainly this idea of “The Clash of Civilizations” put forward by Robert Kagan the father-in-law of the foul mouthed Victoria Neuland has some relevance. It may not be the determining factor in how the new global balance of power will be worked out and decided upon.

    All three of these major world powers represent civilizations that have traditions that reach back thousands of years that in their own way produce a kind of rootedness in their peoples that stands out in contradistinction to the kind of rootlessness that personifies contemporary life in the West. The ability to take what is best in modernity and combine that with a more enlightened vision of their own traditional basis for life is what gives the educated elites in these societies such an important psychological edge over their Western counterparts.

    If it’s true that “geography is destiny” then certainly Russia’s position as both a European and an Asian power constitutes a fact of life that is very unpleasant for the maritime nations whose global empires were based upon the ability to project naval and marine power globally through trade and commerce as well as militarily.

    With the dawn of the science of aviation however humanity entered a new era. This era has been and will continue to be determined by the ability of air travel to reach all points on the planet quickly and efficiently which is why the balance of history so to speak and been shifted to such land based powers as Russia and China. This is a historical process that like most such things is usually measured in centuries but in this case may be compressed into a very brief time frame.

    Space is the ultimate crystallization of this new reality.

    • Really great comments Charles. This is a great and telling line about India- China and Russia “The ability to take what is best in modernity and combine that with a more enlightened vision of their own traditional basis for life is what gives the educated elites in these societies such an important psychological edge over their Western counterparts.” Of course their history also has dark shadows. So it will the challenge of these countries to overcome those shadows before their potential can really take shape.

      And you are also right that “geography is destiny”. It will be the wealth, technology and hard work of the Chinese, that will mute the naval power of the Americans, as they will build a 21st century silk road linking and knitting together the countries of Asia leading into Europe. The Europeans, presently having their cultures torn up at the roots, will then have another alternative to the rootless power on the other side of the Atlantic.

  2. “A solution for a decades-long border dispute is nowhere in sight.” I must agree on this. Indians are all talks, no actions when comes to any hard issues.

    • I believe that the border issues are secondary to the issue of development. If India takes a path towards development, which will make it heavily reliant on China, the border issues will IMHO be settled. If on the other hand Modi either does not have the grass roots support for development, or cannot come up with a plan of development in which the sacrifices that the Indian people will be asked to make will be considered equitable, then all of this is Modi’s pipe dream and the border issues will remain an open wound between these two great nations. This will very much benefit Washington.

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