If the United States’ foreign policy in Afghanistan would have been a success and they would have, after impairing the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan that ruled between 1996 and 2001, been able to instate a strongman who would do as their liking, and had packed their bags and left, there wouldn’t have been a prolonged anti-US slogan and Taliban would not have had a come-back and become so undyingly pervading – and India would not have come to such a point of agitation.
US miscalculation in Syria, especially in thinking that after their favors to Iran in both Afghanistan and Iraq, where they removed regimes unfriendly to them, giving them considerable access to the throne of Kabul, and giving the same Baghdad with which they had made a 10 year long bloody war, in a silver platter – that after all these favors Iran would stand aside and let them overthrow Assad in Syria. With Assad down Iran would be left with just a vulnerable Baghdad, but with Assad standing they can think of a renewed power-belt all the way from Tehran to Beirut. Nor would Russia want the diminishing of this strong buffer, whilst already facing the heat of ICBMs at its borders with East Europe and Poland and enemies as close as in Ukraine. And the same oil, US and its allies crave for in Iraq had long been received at lesser rates by Iran, Russia and China when Saddam was under sanctions, then how would the US be allowed to have the same oil slip away to its tankers now, free of charge.
This miscalculation had its effect in Afghanistan, the length of the Syria adventure gave Russia the confidence to intervene militarily and once it guesstimated possible success in Syria, it decided to go as far as confronting India, a major US ally, by framing strategic alliance with Pakistan, who is already making US/India success in Afghanistan impossible.
Again China, who is already dreaded with an impending economic crisis that comes with the global slowdown of imports and exports, was provoked by increased US naval activity in the South China Sea region. Obama’s Asia Pivot Policy if it succeeded intended to bring all of China’s traditional trade partners in its neighborhood, away from China and in America’s pocket. In that case not only would Chinese companies incur heavy loses and the sea-lanes would become more expensive for Chinese ships but increased US presence in all allied ports in the Pacific would make it impossible for China to defeat the US in case of any military encounter. Thus China not only actively revamped its diplomacy in its neighborhood but also stood up against Indian interests in defiance of the US.
China’s reassurances to Pakistan in the global stage were meant to pass a message to US and its ally India that the road to Afghanistan is not without tariff. China’s open support for Pakistan was shown in several recent occasions, like in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Tashkent, when China assured Pakistan that it will back its membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group; when the Counsel General visited Pakistan and said ‘In case of any [foreign]aggression our country will extend its full support to Pakistan’, and when China blocked a tributary of the Brahmaputra River for one of its hydro projects, just when the Modi administration was debating on re-writing the Indus Water Treaty. China’s commitment to complete the CPEC, which will become the silk road of modern times, is also a signal of change in global commerce in near future, which can potentially pale Indian & US plans of regional hegemony.
China’s anti-India stance is not without historic baggage. India’s support for the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Independence Movement, with headquarters in India, has been decades-long scorn in Sino-Indian relations. Tibet’s independence would also remove China’s claim on Arunachal Pradesh, which was traditionally Tibetan land. The Naxal/Maoist Insurgency that engulfs one-third of India, backed by China, has been China’s answer to India’s Tibet policy. On the other end of the Himalayas, China controls Aksai Chin and Ladakh, which are traditionally part of Kashmir, and India claims them. More so India’s unfruitful dream to try to regain the independent side of Kashmir affiliated with Pakistan would mean cutting off the China-Pakistan access route, the end of the CPEC and alienation of Pakistan from a trusted friend.
India cannot be allowed to freely connive in the region, when it collaborates with the US, a threat for both Pakistan and China. India’s new strategic agreements with US are seen by China as an anti-China advance. US access to Indian ports and bases would mean US closeness to Pakistani and Chinese borders and increased presence over the sea-lanes from where China wants to oust the US now. China has recently negotiated a Sino-Myanmar transport corridor, oil & gas pipelines and a deep water port construction project in Kyaukpyu, Myanmar. China is also going for a trans-Bangladesh railway project, thus consolidating friends from India’s neighborhood. Whereas on the contrary, India’s much famed Chabahar port project in Iran has to remain unripe until there is something to come out of Afghanistan. Even if that happens, Iran will give second thoughts to benefiting an ally of its pronounced enemy.
It’s not that China had been totally oblivious to the invasion of Afghanistan, after all China Metallurgical Group (MCC) was offered the rights to mine copper in Aynak, with an estimated $88billion worth copper, in the very beginning. But in time perhaps China has realized that taking out the copper from beneath the soil that the Taliban walk will not be a dream come true soon, and unlike India, China has never shown tendency to participate militarily in the loot in Afghanistan – that too at the expense of losing friends like Pakistan.
So the case of India’s agitation over Pakistan is interesting. The agitation however is not solely provoked by Pakistan’s actions. Rather India’s being a ‘Major Defense Partner of the United States’ as announced in the 2016 US State Department memorandum , is a more viable source. A Logistics Support Agreement between US & India is ready for signing which will allow US to use India’s land, air and naval bases for resupplies, repair and rest. India is also a part of Obama’s Asia Pivot, but a little separate from the pivot in the Pacific, where Obama seems to have lost a long time partner in Philippines already. But India was a pivot for its own fruits; its inexpensive young and innumerable workforce that could be used to reduce the effects of the Chinese workforce in extended future, its educated class which again gives the cheapest rates to western outsourcing companies – and India being a last possible hope for US success in Afghanistan.
Because foolishly enough India was the only one prepared to enter Afghanistan with its army contingents and join with CIA’s covert warfare to destabilize Pakistan along with Afghanistan by funding and abetting mercenary gangs capable of disrupting peace. So while NATO members were decreasing presence, virtually leaving the US alone in Afghanistan, India was increasing its forces, partaking in the training of the Afghan Army, increasing its consulate facilities along Pak/Afgan border and increasing the volume of its love-Afghan rhetoric.
All this was happening to India in the same decade when India had switched over from a strictly internalized socialist economy to a capitalist one in 1991 under Narasimha Rao’s initiative. A sudden opening to the free-market and access to loans and Foreign Direct Investment brought an unprecedented boom to India’s GDP, with an IMF forecasted 7.5% growth throughout 2015. But to the misfortune of the populace, the capitalist model has only helped in making more billionaires in India, while the poor remain poorer. India’s top 1% holds close to half of the country’s total wealth, while the world’s poorest 10% are Indians. Inequality brings problems and for an India with a 1.25billion population, the problems become staggering; like health, food and energy security, water shortage, pollution etc. But most of all inequality brings anger, that makes for unrest and insurgencies that are rife in India. But the problem for the elite capitalist class of India is neither inequality nor do they deem any consideration to popular dissatisfaction – what they are worried about is, in imitating the US Exceptionalist Model, is how to maintain the growth figures in a crumbling global economy with a lessening appetite for Indian exports and services.
Exceptionalism is a mind-disease, it is an after-effect of the capitalist model, it consolidates resources and authority and endangers the survival of the majority class – and it cannot restrain itself in its own state borders. Hindu class-society was a perfect petri dish for capitalism and BJP is the match-culture – and its Hindutva extremism takes Exceptionalism as its crown. So, of all of Asia’s 48 states, only India has the vein to join US imperialistic designs, when even the likely Pacific states seem to have back-footed on Obama’s offers.
So what can India do for the US, apart from blowing the bellows of war on Pakistan? Will they conquer Afghanistan for them, an Afghanistan that sits on a $1 trillion trove of mineral wealth, all waiting to be thrown in together with India’s cheap labor, to create more billionaires in India, US and their select friends? They have tried to, by setting ISIS against the Taliban, in recent days, but does ISIS stand a chance against the Taliban, when even Al Qaeda did not operate against them; they had only used Afghanistan as a springboard to regenerate terrorists around the world. Will they do that by training the Afghan forces against their own brethren – such an unnatural notion is far from seeing success, time has proven that it only succeeds in causing blowbacks like the ‘greens on blue attacks’. They haven’t succeeded in destabilizing Pakistan with their 10 year campaign in covertly setting assets like Kulbhushan Yadav to create anti-Pakistan terror outfits that have viciously killed tens of thousands in the country – all these factors add only to India’s agitation.
Or can India do the least, of maintaining enough noise, on international platforms and in UN corridors, constantly portraying Pakistan as a terror-exporting state – so that when/if US decides to attack Pakistan, the case of lies is ripe, as was for the invasion of Iraq, against Saddam’s WMDs. But this when/if does not have a high probability, whereas the price for anti-Pakistan rhetoric can be high for India.
As Pakistan feels surrounded by Indian presence all along its borders to the east, in Occupied Kashmir, in Afghanistan and India’s growing ties with Iran on the Chabahar Project and above all that India’s vocal provocations from its top levels, has made it exigent upon Pakistan to stand its feet in Afghanistan by supporting the Taliban and inflate its support to freedom-groups striving in Occupied Kashmir, both of which it deems are fighting legit wars for self-determination. So the price India has to pay is heat in Occupied Kashmir and gloom of broken dreams in Afghanistan – thus the increased agitation!
So what’s the probability of a US unilateral attack on Pakistan? Does Pakistan depend upon China or Russia to come down to help, who had previously pursued a wait and watch policy in the case of Afghanistan and Iraq and even to an extent in Syria? Or do we trust that our dear friend Saudi Arabia will be able to put any pressure on the isolationist US with regard to us? One should bethink that given their own entanglement in the greater global scenario, they would be compelled to further their help and in effective time too – provided they think of Pakistan as an indispensible partner.
Factors that make us indispensible can be several. With Afghanistan compromised we become the next first in the line of attack between US interests and Russia/China interests – if we are eliminated as a buffer – that would add only to the vulnerability of Russia and China and so of Iran. Our defeat also means the end of warm water ports for China. It also means further isolation for an already isolated Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. But our nuclear arsenal, which can potentially ignite an all-out nuclear world war, does not allow us to be defeated. Because once the heat is on, the time would be right for China to settle its scores in the South China Sea and Russia would not relent in clearing the growing nuisance in East Europe and Poland and might be that the Bolivarian of Latin America feels a comeback wave too and soon everyone would fit in a global chessboard.
This is completely not acceptable, especially if it is eminent that the Superpower and its allies in Europe are soon to collapse under the weight of their own economic crises. If time is all it will take for this collapse, Russia and China would opt for elongating the events, while US would opt for ‘do or die’. This time-constraint is another vital factor that agitates those who think time matters so much for them. Perhaps India is on one of those ships whose time is not never-ending.
But the thought of an all-out nuclear war is gory, its viciousness would kill humanity in the billions – no sane element of humanity is expected to come to this low – not even America or India – because they too are human! But short of that there will be not much more for India to do than blowing the bellows!