(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
We could all look at clues emanating from a two-hour meeting between India’s foreign minister S. Jaishankar with Wang Yi, his Chinese counterpart, in Moscow on Thursday. Or trust the redoubtable Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to have hefted his weight in making them shake hands. But frankly, it’s in China’s interests to keep India in good humour.
As the two troops square up within a punch’s distance in Ladakh, where even a guttural breath could spark off World War III, analysts have a meltdown that India could be facing a multi-pronged war on its borders, none more so than on its eastern, northern and western ones from two heavily nuclear-armed enemies—China and Pakistan. Most are failing to connect the dots that it’s China which presently is more encircled and it’s India which is the centrepiece in the coordinated move.
Agreed, India hosting the QUAD (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) later this year doesn’t sound menacing at first glance. But the enormity of the moment won’t be lost on pros who know that India now has military logistical agreement with all three other members of the grouping: the United States, Australia and Japan. The one with the US (LEMOA) has been operational since 2016. The one with Australia was signed in June. Now, on Thursday, India and Japan, riding on the visible warmth between Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and his outgoing Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, have inked a similar military logistical deal. Who said nothing moved during the Corona?
Even as I write this, French defence minister Florence Parly would’ve left Indian shores after overseeing the official induction of 5 Rafale jets in the Indian Air Force in Ambala on Thursday. Don’t go by the innocent press releases marking the moment. In geopolitical and military sense, it carried a grave message for Beijing.
Quietly in the background, India and France have grown akin to blood brothers. It hasn’t happened overnight. As soon as the Cold War ended last century, India and France had signed a “strategic partnership.” Everyone talks of 36 Rafale jets but it isn’t much in public domain that Indian navy has already commissioned 2 of 6 Scorpene submarines being build in our own Malegaon dockyards. The third one is undergoing sea trials. India had signed a military logistics pact with France in 2018 itself. France was one of the few countries which had backed India’s decision to nuclear-test in 1998.
And this is all because like other members of QUAD, France too needs India badly for its considerable stakes in the Indian Ocean. The two countries could sign a secure communications agreement too which would allow the two navies to share maritime domain awareness. Even before Parly arrived in India, the two countries, along with Australia, had held their a trilateral foreign-secretary level dialogue on Wednesday. Surely, India-France are welcoming the likeminded in fold.
The domino effect of this all must not be lost on observers. LEMOA with the US has extended Indian navy’s reach in southwestern Indian Ocean due to French bases in Reunion island near Madagascar and Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. The logistical arrangement with Australia has bolstered Indian warships in southern Indian Ocean and the western Pacific.
There are two other logistical pacts—besides the US, Australia, Japan and France—which India has firmly secured under its belt. One is with South Korea, the other one is with Singapore. Now Indian officials are openly touting two more in near future—with the UK and Russia, the latter one possibly by the end of this year itself. Yes, Russia—you have heard it right.
And now comes something which completely has rattled the command of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). India, Japan and Australia have launched a “Resilient Supply Chain Initiative” amongst themselves. In simpler terms, it means the three countries are looking for alternatives to China in terms of relocating industries and supply chains in Indo-Pacific.
Japan, which has considerable industrial presence in China, unlike India or Australia, is even incentivizing its companies to relocate to, say India and Bangladesh. It has taken badly the recent moves by China to intensify dispute in East China Sea. Australia is badly stung by the trade spats with China. The repatriation of Australian journalists by Beijing hasn’t helped matters. India of course has a war at door.
In essence, there is an attempt to disengage supply chains in strategic areas such as telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, semiconductors etc from China. This has potential to fundamentally alter the geographical shape of cross-border industrial network in the region. It would hurt China where it hurts most.
India and China could point fingers at each other, and not just Finger 3 or 4, for the downturn of ties between two of world’s most populous nations. China could claim that it has had enough of India’s “running with the hare and hunting with the hound” attitude. India could do likewise. After all, China backs Pakistan both on its terrorism and hostility in Kashmir. But these are no better than academic discourse. The truth is India has moved firmly on its Act East Policy. And China has to look after its back. Like Doklam, this face-off ftoo is likely to end with a loss of face for the Dragon.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Brahma Chellaney, a trusted voice, laments in Hindustan Times today that Indians suffer from a short memory.
He cites three instances around the macabre 26/11 attacks in Mumbai which lasted four days.
One, that nobody remembers Tukaram Omble, a junior police officer who held the barrel of Kasab’s AK-47 on to his chest to make sure it hits only him and his other colleagues could swoop on the Pakistani terrorists unharmed.
Two, that all the 10 Pakistani terrorists were wearing red string wristbands for Hindus that Pakistan-American David Headley got for them from Mumbai’s Siddhivinayak Temple. But for Kasab’s confession, the narrative of “saffron terror”, peddled so in Manmohan Singh’s government as witnessed in 2006-2007 blasts in Malegaon, Ajmer Sharif, Mecca Masjid and Samjhauta Express, would’ve received another heavy coat.
Three, that the Kartarpur Corridor had its cornerstone laid on the 10th anniversary of 26/11. One could imagine Pakistan’s generals and politicians doubling up in mirth at Indians’ absence of memory.
I bring all this up to drive home a larger point. People don’t remember because in-your-face newspapers decide that for you. They decide what you remember and what you don’t. Often what they hide is more relevant than what they choose to reveal.
So they ensure you remember “Karkare” because Pragya Sadhvi has taken his name—and never Tukaram Omble.
That you remember Modi, Shah, Yogi Adityanad as divisive and not Omar Abdullah who has given call for two Prime Ministers in the country. Or that Mehbooba Mufti has warned “Hindustanis” they would be wiped out from the history books.
That Rahul Gandhi could lie on the shoulders of Supreme Court for his “Chowkidar Chor Hai” agenda but you wouldn’t know a thing why Rahul Gandhi himself is on bail in the National Herald case. That Rahul Gandhi’s shady deals with evidence is in public domain; India’s finance minister (Arun Jaitley) subsequently held a press conference on the matter but not a line is to be seen in any mainstream English daily of the country.
That Supreme Court could induce “mediation” on the matter of Ayodhya but not in equally contentious “Sabrimala” issue.
That the settlement of Rohingyas is a human rights issue but not 5 lakh Hindus displaced from Kashmir.
Not a word on same Rohingyas, at least a lakh of them, and how they are settled in Jammu when under Article 35A other Indians can’t buy property in J&K.
That stopping Bangladeshi infiltrators is a human rights issue but allowing persecuted Hindus from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan is an attempt to erode the cultural compass of a state.
That even after helping a Muslim and a Dalit to become the President of India, BJP is an anti-Dalit party and not Abdullahs and Muftis who have refused voting rights to lakhs of “Valmikis”, brought from Punjab on that explicit promise in 1957 to fill the post of “safai karamcharis (sweepers)” on strike.
That why RSS is a communal organization and not SDPI or PFI, identified as a terrorist network by National Intelligence Agency (NIA), and who are in alliance with Congress in Wayanad where Rahul Gandhi is contesting.
That BJP is a threat to institutions such as judiciary, RBI and CBI but not Mamata Banerjee who allows investigating CBI officers to be manhandled and forcibly kept in a police station. Or Congress who invokes impeachment of the Chief Justice of India and called the army chief a “goonda.” Or when Mamata doesn’t allow opponents to hold public rallies in Bengal.
That a police officer killed in Uttar Pradesh points to the deteriorating law and order situation in the state but spate of murders in states like West Bengal and Kerala is par for the course.
That EVMs, VVPATs or Aadhaar are a threat to people’s rights and democracy but not the lies of Congress and AAP leaders who refuse to take up the challenge of Election Commission and yet indulge in an event in London to show how “EVMs” are hackable—and fail miserably in that.
That Amit Shah’s son has made “millions” in crooked deals but the three-year-old Devansh, grandson of Chandrababu Naidu, somehow has assets of nearly Rs 20 crores and still not worth readers’ attention.
That Congress could promise “nyay” and Rs 72,000 in poor’s pockets without a single reader being told that it’s not feasible, that Congress hasn’t delivered on most of their promises in 70 years; and that Rs 72k annually to poor would be pick-pocketed from the middle class and would easily put our inflation into double figures.
Why there is no credible book on the macabre tales of The Partition? Why the mention of Subhas Chandra Bose, BR Ambedkar, Lal Bahadur Shastri or Sardar Patel wouldn’t produce more than 50 words from majority of us? Why the torture suffered by Veer Savarkar in “kaala paani” in Andamans is no memory while Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru in “home-like” prisons was such a sacrifice? Why Nathuram Godse and his book on his trial subsequent to Mahatma Gandhi’s murder why banned for more than 20 years? Why not a single copy of Niyogi Commission’s report on the menace of “conversion” by Christians is available anywhere? How come Kashmir Valley, which had only 3 districts to Jammu’s 6 districts, were brought on par to the extent it has 46 seats to Jammu’s 37?
One could go on endlessly. But the narrative is the same: Lutyens Media and Leftist websites work on an agenda, brainwash readers and do it with impunity because the counter-narrative—run primarily by Swarajyamag, OpIndia and NewsBred—is only recent. Unless more such forums mushroom; unless readers are questioning, until the laws of the land haul these newspapers up for their lies and manipulation, unafraid of the so-called “Freedom of Press”refuge to these miserables, Indians would continue to have short memory and the repercussions would be grave.