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A potentially Risky Indo- US bonhomie

Anondeeta Chakraborty

The country heaved a sigh of relief when the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US is deploying its forces in Asia, (South China Sea) in order to counter the increasing threat posed by China.  But what we blatantly failed to take account of, is the diplomatic changes in the Indian Foreign Policy, that might have been prompting China into such aggression.

There is no denial of the fact that China has been trying to intrude our borders for quite a long period of time. It has a very cunning tactic when it comes to territorial annexation. Taking one small part at a time. It embarked upon this very technique to claim the Galwan Valley and the Pangong Tso Lake area in Ladakh. This tactic is not just exclusive for India. Our neighbor and probably our “former friend “Nepal has fallen victim to such shrewd strategy of China.  When the border turmoil was on with India, China deceitfully has captured quite a few agricultural villages in Nepal, which, the Nepalese Government has been denying so vehemently.

While experts are eyeing the construction of the strategic “One Belt, One Road” by China as the main reason for such aggressive border stance and India’s position as a big obstacle to the construction of the OBOR; there is another reason which is not being taken into account by many.  An unprecedented booming of relations between the US and India, not just in the economic front but in the military front as well. India is set to purchase more than USD3billion dollars of military equipment from the US in 2020, not to mention the increased frequency of military exercises between the two countries and also the looming threat from the QUAD States. (US, Japan, Australia and India). In the face of such unprecedented diplomatic crisis with China, the recent Malabar exercise between the Indian and US naval force, with the mighty Super Carrier USS Nimitz, has triggered more apprehension in the Chinese mind, about the Indo US intention. With Australia set to join another naval exercise with US, Japan and India, the idea of a formidable Asia Pacific alliance of the QUAD nations, is actually being materialized into a reality.

China is seeing this new honeymoon phase between US and India as a potentially grave threat to her expansionist policy. Taking every economic, military aspect into account, there still remains a huge gap between China and the US in their capability. China still needs a hefty amount of time before it can outdo the US. And this new bonhomie between the US and India is not good news for her. Hence this urgency on China’s part to threaten India and remind us every now and then about the Chinese dragon breathing fire in our borders.

So long, India has maintained a Non-Aligned stance engineered by Nehru, when it comes to its foreign policy, so much so, that this has been the strategic mantra of Indian Diplomacy. With close allies like Russia, inching towards China, India has no other options but to look for other means to counter China, and USA  has presented itself as the best option.  The animosity that exist between the “superpower” US and the “rising power” China, is what is going to define the overall international relation among the states in this decade. US will try to explore every option available at hand to counter the potential superiority of China. And what better way to do that than involving another emerging powers in that very region to counter her nemesis. Voila!  Here comes India. The existence of this common enemy will only bring India and US closer to each other, than ever before.

Even though our Foreign Minister, S. Jaishankar has made it clear, that India will not be joining any alliances per se, some facts cannot really be overlooked here. With China’s ever growing lust for territorial power, coupled with her increasing military and economic might, India losing that age old spark with Russia, and this new border crisis acting as a catalyst, she may be forced to take an extreme stance of joining an alliance, especially with the US.  As the Realist School of International Relations suggest that the foreign policy of a state is influenced by the need for its survival and sustenance in the international realm.  On this same line of argument, India, at the end of the day, has to secure her territorial sovereignty and ensure her survival by any means, whatsoever, which is evident from this shift in India’s foreign policy towards the US. Already experts are saying that this new Sino-Indian conflict might be the death knell to India’s strategic Non Alignment policy. Such views are to be taken with serious consideration.

This sudden boom of camaraderie might prove fatal for India too. Engaging itself in the emerging “cold war” between the two powers, even if not deliberately, runs the risk of becoming a site for a proxy war. History presents us with an ample amount of examples to prove this statement. The more India will get closer to US, the more China will try to attack her, so as to make India reconsider her stance towards the US. That is what is happening at this very juncture too.

The present situation is far too chaotic to say what steps India should take as of now. It has to use its diplomatic skills and act according to how the situation presents itself.  As many strategists claim, that India should not be too much involved with the US and should adopt a safe distance .This is one of the biggest diplomatic crisis the country is facing and any wrong step can prove fatal for India.

 

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