Editorial: February 2015
Obama’s India Yatra
Dr. Rasheed Hasan Khan
U.S. President Obama’s India Yatra concluded amidst a fanfare of pomp and circumstance.This was Obama’s second visit to India during his Presidential tenure. He happens to be the first US President to be invited as Chief Guest in the Republic Day Celebrations held every year on the 26 January.
In a surfeit of euphoria and good cheer, Obama supported India’s bid for a permanent seat in the Security Council and India’s inclusion in the Nuclear Suppliers Group. The US has economic and Strategic agenda it would like the Indian counterparts to acquiescence to. In a nutshell, U.S. strategy is aimed at countering China.. To pit the “Chinese dragon” against the “Indian elephant” as someone so aptly put it. The Obama administration has been aggressively working to integrate India into its “Pivot to Asia”—that is its objective, to militarily isolate and encircle China. These efforts have intensified since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), considered India’s most pro-US party, came to power last May.Previously, the Indian Ruling Classes used the American desire for collaboration to implement their own agenda for regional aggrandizement, but now it seems there has been a change in strategic thinking and India is seriously involving itself in furthering US strategic manoevering.
The projection is to make India the southwest outpost of a US-led anti-China Indo-Pacific alliance along with Japan and Australia. Under President George W. Bush and now Obama, the US encouraged India to build a blue-water navy and play a major “policing role” in the Indian Ocean, whose sea routes convey oil and other resources critical to China’s economy as well as much of its export trade. With the aim of countering China’s influence and involving India in the South China Sea territorial disputes between Washington’s local allies and Beijing, the US has also offered to help in strengthening its economic and strategic ties with the South East Asian countries.A proposal for a ‘quadrilateral pact’ had been made in 2007, but had been dropped because of opposition from China.However, this time around,Narendra Modi and BJP seem determined to ignore China’s opposition.
One can assume that China will respond to the Indo-US strategic partnership. Beijing’s best weapons are its huge trade and economic relationships with its Asian neighbours and even those aligned against it, including India, Japan, Australia and the US itself. ‘Containing China’ will entail an economic cost. China’s Economy is recognized as the second largest globally and rising,therefore it is not to be easily browbeaten by using the classical Imperialist measures and manoevers which succeeded in case of smaller and weaker nations.
China can further reinforce its ties — economic, military and diplomatic — with a Russia now locked in open confrontation with the West. It will intensify its strategic cooperation with Pakistan, Iran and others which distance themselves from the American alliance. And China will secure concessions when its cooperation is required to address global challenges.
Whatever illusions Modi or BJP may be labouring under, it is a time tested truth that fighting Imperialism’s Proxy Wars is a cerain recipe for national degradation and economic ruin.