As a large country in size, India has a great aspiration to become a regional superpower. But Sadh is not as much as possible. China is on him. As big as its size, they are also ahead in economic and military strength. As a result, China has unannouncedly occupied the seat of regional superpower. There has been a psychological war between the two countries for a long time. And for the past few months, the two countries have been at loggerheads in Ladakh. It would be wrong to think of this Sino-Indian duality only as a war between two countries. The United States is behind it. Therefore, the Sino-Indian conflict can also be called the Sino-US conflict. India is swaying like a pendulum between the two – this is the opinion of political observers. Vim Bhurtel, a prominent Nepali observer, is one of them.
India has been caught on the China-US geo-strategic chess board. China has been putting pressure on India since the beginning of May by gathering large numbers of troops along the Ladakh border. Meanwhile, the United States is also pressuring India to achieve its strategic goals.
All in all, India is on the verge of losing its strategic autonomy. They are leaning once towards China, again towards America, just like the pendulum of a wall clock.
The truth of this idea can be understood by looking at some important facts. The first was a meeting between Indian Foreign Minister Subramaniam Jayashankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, followed by a joint statement issued by the two countries. The meeting was held on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on September 10.
At the outset of the declaration, it was stated that “in order to maintain good relations between China and India, the consensus reached between the two leaders at multiple meetings will be followed and differences will not be allowed to take the form of disagreements.” , India has accepted China’s demand to follow the agreements and understandings already concluded between the leaders of the two countries.
The second thing to consider is the separate statements of the two countries at the end of the 2 + 2 virtual meeting between the Foreign and Defense Secretaries of India and the United States. The virtual meeting took place a day after the Jayashankar-Wang meeting.
India already has three important agreements with the United States. These are the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement signed in 2016, the Communication Compatibility and Security Agreement signed in 2016 and the Industrial Security Annex to the India-US General Security Agreement in 2019. As a result of these agreements, India will have the opportunity to use US expertise in gathering intelligence from different countries. And they will be able to master various weapons and automated hardware systems used in military work.
In a 2 + 2 virtual meeting of the Foreign and Defense Secretaries of India and the United States, both sides agreed to continue further discussions in the future. The two countries will meet again later this year, the US statement said.
Apart from this, in the face of US pressure, India has agreed to hold a meeting of the United States, India, Australia and Japan next month. Many observers see the US pressure as a loss to India’s strategic autonomy and blame Prime Minister Modi’s short-sighted China policy.
According to an Indian analyst, Ram Madhav, the ruling BJP’s all-India general secretary, and Amit Shah, Modi’s right-hand man, have been urging the prime minister to avenge India’s defeat in the 1962 war and seize Aksai Chin from China. The Aksai Chin area is currently located in the China-ruled Ladakh region.
Modi’s Strategic Aid Jayashankar claims that India is in the sixth stage of strategic evolution since independence in 1947. Claiming that India has reached this stage since Modi came to power in 2014, he said India should take risks and join the US-led alliance.
Of course, it is true that India has signed three important agreements with the US since Modi came to power and is waiting for another.
At the same time, it is true that China has become a challenge to the unquestionable monopoly of the United States in the world. In this situation, America needs a strong and reliable partner in Asia. To keep China down, the US has become interested in making India a military and strategic partner. Failure to do so as soon as possible will end US dominance in Asia.
India, meanwhile, claims that it has maintained its strategic autonomy as a middle ground. They have built international relations through partnerships with the BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, The Quad, and the United States. So it is easy to understand why India is claiming that they are maintaining their strategic autonomy.
On the other hand, the United States, which has been playing the drums of the so-called liberal world order since World War II, thinks that only they have the right to dominate the world. In such a situation, like the former Soviet Union, China has appeared on the world stage with huge economic power, military might and technological advancement. Today, a quarter of a century after the end of the Cold War, it is proving difficult for the United States to meet the challenges of China.
Former US President Barack Obama has launched a major strategy to tackle China’s challenges. Rex Tillerson, the successor to his successor, Donald Trump’s former secretary of state, launched the Indo-Pacific Strategy in 2016 to dominate China and maintain US grandeur in the world.
To achieve this, the United States needs a true friend in Asia and the Pacific. Australia, Japan and South Korea were interested in getting this place. But the US thinks that India will be the most suitable partner to keep China in check.
Japan and South Korea have always focused on trade and commerce; They have no interest in geopolitics and grand strategy. And whatever it is, their strategic capabilities are absolutely limited.
Their geographical location is less convenient than in India. Because they have no land border with China.
Also, US strategists see that India has a huge maritime border, which will be used as an additional advantage to keep China down. Australia’s importance in the Eastern Pacific is also limited. All in all, only India can play a big role in America’s grand strategy.
China’s grand strategy is to keep India behind in the Asia-centric world order. So they want to keep India neutral in terms of strategic balance with the United States. One of the skills of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to be able to say exactly what people want to hear wherever he wants.
Going to America, he has promised Trump that he will do everything he needs to do as an ally of the United States. He also promised Chinese President Xi Jinping that he would work together to establish the Asian Century and build a multi-centered world.
There is a proverb in Nepal, “PC of the groom’s house, aunt of the bride’s house”. Modi has been trying to do this since 2016 in his relations with China and the United States. He may think that China and the United States can be deceived in the same way that Indian voters can be deceived by long-winded promises. But it does not have much value in diplomacy. Because the opposition always wants accountability for the agreement and consensus.
All in all, it seems that many things needed to be considered before forming an alliance with the United States, which Modi did not.
First, India and its northern neighbor China have a 3.48 km long land border. China keeps a close eye on every strategic system of India.
Second, in 1972, India could be compared to China. At that time the economies and military and strategic strengths of both the countries were more or less the same. But today China’s economy is much bigger than India’s. And their defense budget is three times that of India.
Third, Modi does not see the point in China winning the war on every front. And for the last two decades, America has been fighting everywhere but has not won a single one.
Fourth, India seeks to forge an alliance with the United States, but history has shown that the United States continues to be unfaithful to its allies, deviating from most of its international commitments. In such a situation, how far India can go in building an alliance with the United States is a matter for the world to see.