On the Current State of India-Nepal Relations

Folks, sharing some thoughts on the current state of India-Nepal relations.

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I remember watching this above news break some days ago. My first reaction was not anger, but instead, sadness. Deep sadness is indeed what took over me when I saw this finally happen.

It was also partly the reason why I chose NOT to write anything on this issue. But now I think it is time I share my thoughts. As always, I am going to be writing this on the go, with only a very vague structure to my thoughts. Let’s see how it goes.

Firstly, the map being passed was inevitable. No politician worth his salt would want to vote AGAINST a resolution calling for ADDING territory to his country.

It doesn’t matter that Nepal chose only now to come up with an entirely new map after all these years of existence as an an independent Nation. Heck, even in their boundary agreement with China in 1961, where there was practically NO involvement of India, their map was what is shown below – WITHOUT the now famous finger-type protrusion.

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Yet, now the Commie govt decided they needed that additional land.

Talking about the communist led govt in Nepal, what adds to the incredulity of the entire situation is the sheer timing of the act of claiming Indian territory – right in the middle of a standoff with China that is ruled by fellow commies.

With both their VERY large neighbours involved in a serious conflict, any prudent govt might have thought of delaying raking up the issue.

But then, the key word here is ‘Prudent’.

With Comrade Oli and his credentials, I have no doubt that he was batting on behalf of his commie masters in Beijing who were only seeking to open up another front against India.

Yes, I call them Masters because that is what they are, rosy ‘ideals’ of communism notwithstanding. The Middle Kingdom considers NO ONE as an equal, least of all a small country like Nepal.

But whatever be the motive, now the deed is done. Suffice it to say, it cannot be undone by any future parliament of Nepal – which parliamentarian would vote to ‘give away’ territory to another country, huh?

I will come back to this thought in a while.

Leaving aside the fact that a loony commie is in charge of Nepal these days, let me delve on the traditional relationship between Nepal and its neighbours.

To be fair, it is natural for a small neighbour to try and get out of the shadow of a ‘big brother’ every once in a while. However, this time comrade Oli seems to have gone beyond all earlier norms by taking things beyond a point of no return – neither is India going to accept ceding of her territory to Nepal, nor is Nepal going to take back its claims on the land it now claims.

That it has come at a time when India-China tensions are at a peak and the Lipulekh Pass is a strategic gateway into Tibet only adds to the rising sentiments in India which also brings into question the impartiality of Nepal in this entire India-China fracas.

The road in question didn’t just appear overnight, btw!

But then, there is just no way that you can wake up someone who is merely pretending to be asleep, isn’t it?

That is a question that will never find a satisfactory answer for jilted Nepali brothers and sisters.

China definitely has far more money to throw around, especially as bribes to amenable politicians – The Aussie lawmaker whose properties have recently been raided by law enforcement agencies is just one of the many that has gotten exposed. WHO Chief too comes to mind.

To that end, I’ll just leave this screenshot doing rounds on Twitter, here.

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Of course, it will be panned as fake.

I don’t mid that one bit!

What I am coming to is that China and Nepal can NEVER be what India and Nepal have been over millennia – bound by a common cultural and even familial ties.  Now add to that, the ties of blood that countless Gorkha brothers of Nepal have shed with fellow soldiers of the Indian Army.

I call it a ‘rishta’ of Roti, Beti aur Lahoo.

This is a bond that has lasted through thick and thin for more than two centuries.

Even today, as per a newspaper report I came across some days ago, more than 30,000 Nepalese citizens continue to serve in the Indian Army. 

One thing that surely must have crossed the minds of the powers that be in New Delhi in recent weeks would have been their continued availability in case Nepal didn’t permit those on leave to rejoin in this moment of grave crisis on LAC, citing Coronavirus related lockdown. Heck, with Nepal still under lockdown, I’m not sure if the Indian soldiers out there have actually been able to rejoin their battalions or not.

This is potentially a really serious issue, with attendant repercussions on continued recruitment of Nepalese citizens in Indian Army.

I’m sure there will be atleast a few in Nepal who say they don’t want their fellow citizens to serve in another country’s army.

Logically, it is a fair demand as well.

But then, how might they employ the 30,000 odd citizens who might find themselves out of a job if that happens?

Add to that an average salary of approx INR 40K per month that would translate into INR 120 crore of remittance to Nepal every month, and repercussions are apparent.

Heck, there already are more than just a handful folks in Nepal already demanding cessation of Nepalese citizens joining IA. I’m sure none of them have given any thought to the economic impact to their own motherland in case this demand actually fructifies.

With a nominal GDP of $30Bn (source: wiki), I doubt the economic impact of such a thing actually fructifying will be easily bearable by Nepal.

Of course, I am not even talking about pensions to retired Indian soldiers of Nepalese origin who must be more than 1,50,000 in numbers.

Then there is the question of countless other Nepalese citizens travelling and working freely in India, thanks to treaty privileges.

Hope you get where I am getting to.

But thankfully, this is NOT going to happen anytime soon!

India-Nepal relations are different, much different than India’s relations with any of its other neighbours.

To be fair, it is natural for a small neighbour to play bigger neighbours against each other for its own benefit. In fact, Nepal is not the only Indian neighbour doing that.

In the larger scheme of things it hardly matters, so long as it doesn’t impact own national interests.

So much so, that not many know that Nepal is one of the VERY FEW countries of the world that actually provide VISA-FREE entry to Pakistanis! 

Yup, IC-814 hijackers too got logistical assistance from Kathmandu.

Sanctions imposed on Nepal in the aftermath were not very helpful to their economy either.

Yet the visa-free entry to Pakistan continues.

India never made a fuss about that.

Yet, fact remains that Nepal has also long been a preferred entry point into India by Pakistani terrorists.

Of course, this fact too is largely unknown.

But coming back to the India-Nepal border issue. The question now to be asked is how will Nepal enforce it.

Mind you, I ask this in all seriousness.

The area where Lipulekh lies is one of the remotest areas of Nepal. I doubt whether even a decent road exists out there.

But even that question is moot.

The biggest question is how does it get enforced without use of force?

You know why I ask this?

Because the day force is used by either side, it will be the end of a civilizational linkage spanning over millennia.

A linkage of Roti, Beti aur Lahoo.

Of course, Nepalese border guards recently killed a few Indian citizens in Bihar. Yet, the GOI sought to downplay the entire incident, hoping for better sense to prevail. Sad as it might be, that seems to be the only pragmatic way ahead if we need any chance of normalization.

But soon thereafter there were reports of Nepal moving additional forces in that area. This is in addition to the news that Nepal is planning to establish an army outpost towards Lipulekh as well!

Then there are bombastic statements by so many on Nepalese side about they enforcing their claims by use of military.

Well .. to them I’ll say .. be my guest.

But before that I’ll ask them a few questions.

The first question is – what happens after the first bullet is fired? Is there any realistic way in which they can claim that they’ll prevail? 

Yes, the Gorkhas make some of the best soldiers in the world. I have absolutely no doubts about that. It is a well deserved reputation, earned through much blood and toil.

But to say that they can just go an grab territory under Indian control is a bit .. well .. fantastical IMO.

But thankfully, this is something I don’t see happening. And thank God for that.

In any case, I find none of them having an answer to what happens elsewhere, in case bullets do start flying – status of Nepalese soldiers in IA, other Nepalese workers in India and such likes.

There is one more question I wish to ask of them, btw.

Are there any similar plans for retaking Nepalese territory currently in Chinese control?

Of course it took the commie govt of Kathmandu a really long time to even acknowledge this loss of territory and subsequently dismiss it as a fake news.

Well, you’ve made your bed.

And China is already occupying much of it.

But then, it is between Nepal and China, so I won’t comment on that any further.

Instead, what I wish to delve upon for a bit is to see how do we go back to a de-escalation of emotions from here.

All said and done, it would be a sad day indeed if the GOI ends up enforcing another blockade of Nepal.

Or if remittances / financial grants etc from India, that could be upto 10% of their nominal GDP, get affected.

Will China be able to provide economic opportunities to Nepalese citizens that India provides? Or a conduit to oil and other essential imports?

Or continue to provide opportunities to hoodwink the SAFTA as Oli and his ‘boys’ were caught doing recently by importing Malaysian palm oil after India stopped imports, and then re-selling it to India as ‘Nepalese’ palm oil?

Don’t believe me?

Read THIS

Bottomline – India has been a ‘Big Brother’ in the neighbourhood, no doubt.

That is a function of our geography that just cannot be wished away. But then, India has been a really benign Big Brother.

And this DESPITE the ENORMOUS leverages India holds.

Now compare that with China and how it treats its own neighbours.

Yes, the same China on whose tunes comrade Oli is dancing with reckless abandon.

To some extent, it is also a failure of Indian diplomacy that things have come to such a state. But then, the fact that comrade Oli is feeling threatened too is a natural outcome of the civilizational ties between India and Nepal re-asserting themselves.

Of course, even if he loses his job, it will be another member of the Nepalese Communist Party coming to power. But then, they have been in power earlier as well. ‘Prachanda’ has been in power in various avatars before. For all we know, he might end up coming back to power again.

But commie or not, I doubt he is as big a loonie as Comrade Oli.

However, even if that happens, thing remains that Nepal has CONSTITUTIONALLY adopted a new map.

This is a fact that just cannot be wished away.

This is something that can potentially be a lasting thorn in India-Nepal relations.

Might there be a way out of this mess that Oli has ended up creating?

The only option that comes to mind is for Nepal to go to the International Court of Justice or some such international forum to settle the issue either which way.

That apart, I don’t see any way out that might be acceptable to both sides. But it will be better to sort out this mess any which way possible, at the earliest. Once again, even if at the cost of repetition, I’ll say that civilizational ties cannot be wished away.

Nepalese economy is currently 100 times smaller than Indian economy. Over time, this discrepancy will only grow.

PERHAPS .. sometime in future Nepal might actually come into some form of a loose federation with India.

Remember, much of it was in any case a part of King Ashok’s empire more than two millennia ago. Terai region of Nepal itself continued in some form or another to be a part of a number of subsequent Indian kingdoms as well.

I know it is a flight of fancy, atleast for the time being.

But then, who knows ..

In any case, a China just cannot come to your aid the way India did after the recent earthquake. That’s because they are not only physically but also emotionally as far from Nepal as can be. 

Time to end this blog post.

Nepal is free to build new bridges. It is their inalienable right.

BUT, burning old bridges in the process is something that is bound to raise a few eyebrows, especially when the new bridges have not yet been tested fully.

All I’ll say in the end is a repetition of something I said a number of times before in this blog – Roti, Beti aur Lahoo.

Period.

On Hike Messenger – The China Owned ‘Indian’ App

So with the justifiably growing demands for moving on to Indian apps, amongst those being touted as Indian alternatives is the Hike Messenger.

Understandably, their creators are Indian.

But when I decided to did into them a bit, their wikipedia page gave a V.E.R.Y interesting piece of info about their ‘Indianness’ – Apparently, on 16 Aug 2016, just one day after the 69th anniversary of Indian independence, Hike got a 175 Million Dollar investment from a Tencent Group led grouping (India’s WhatsApp Rival Hike Raises $175M led by Tencent).

Now who is Tencent, I asked.

Once again Wikipedia came to the rescue!

Tencent is a Fcuking CHINESE company based out of Shenzen!

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Yup.

A Chinese company owns a substantial stake in an ‘Indian’ App!

What I did next on Wikipedia was to check out the owners of Tencent. Unsurprisingly, out came the name of Shri Ma Huateng.

Who’s Ma Huateng, you asked?

Well, he has a Wikipedia page too!

That page tells that he is a member of the Chinese Communist Party – a VERY SENIOR member at that. Heck, he is a part of the 12th National People’s Congress!

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As far as the other co-founders go, not much is available as of now about them, but I’ll not be surprised if they too are linked to the Chinese Communist Party.

But for the time being, I’ll leave it.

And then there is another ‘beautiful’ thing about Tencent.

TENCENT ARE THE OWNERS OF WECHAT!

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Yup, let that sink in a bit!

WeChat – the preferred social engineering tool of the Communist Party of China!

And they own a sizeable stake in ‘Indian’ Hike Messenger!

Interesting, no?

Yes, the same WeChat that DELETED all references to the Indian Prime Minister’s statement on the India China FaceOff from their platform!

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Now tell me that Tencent will NOT be interfering in content management or such likes in Hike Messenger, and I’ll show you a white coloured marble building in Agra that I wish to sell!

Of course, there is also the ‘small’ issue of private data of the 10 million plus mostly Indian users who have installed this app, that can potentially be accessible to the Chinese Communist Party member owned Tencent. 

Chilling, I’ll say.

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Hope you are able to see where I am going with this chain of thoughts.

If not, then let me shout it out for you – HIKE MESSENGER HAS A SUBSTANTIAL CHINESE FOOTPRINT.

Period.

At the very least, they are earning money from you and me and sending a chunk of it to China, thanks to the stake owned by the CCP member led Tencent.

So to all that are selling Hike as an Indian messenger app to me, I’ll say Thanks, but no thanks!

I’m not going to install an app that can potentially make available my personal data to a company owned by a senior member of the Chinese Communist Party.

Hence, I am betting on Chirrups App as an Indian alternative instead of Hike or such likes. If it succeeds, I’ll let go of all social media platforms that I’m using.

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This is my recommendation for you all – I get good vibes from them.

Rest is your choice!

On The Galwan Face-off: PART II (Post the Prime Minister’s Address)

(These thoughts were shared on twitter last night. Putting them here for archival purposes)

Folks, moving on from THIS blog of last night to the developments that have taken place since, especially in light of what the Indian Prime Minister and the External Affairs Minister said earlier today.

But first, let me take you back to yesterday afternoon. This news first broke at about 1:00 pm on 16 June 2020. Now that in itself is very interesting! The Govt of India chose to wait for nearly 16 hours to make the report of the incident public.

Now what might have gone on within those 16 hours is anybody’s guess – The GOI might have been trying to get a clear picture of what actually happened, or might have been working backchannels to prevent things from spiralling further .. It’s all open to speculation.

But then, there was one interesting news that also came about almost simultaneously with the story breaking – that the Indian authorities will do a formal briefing at 2:00pm.

Heck, I had to pend my lunch break, waiting for that briefing.!

Alas, it never came!

Somehow, instead of being disappointed, I was reminded of a similar press conference from last year that too got postponed for reasons unknown!

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(Here is the link to the blog post in which that thread was archived – Thoughts on the Balakot Strike: Part III – The Tri-Services Presser in New Delhi)

And true to that intuition, soon thereafter came a couple of tweets from China – thru Shri Hu Xijin, as well as the Global Times, acknowledging the ‘violent’ faceoff, but surprisingly, also acknowledging that the Chinese side too had suffered casualties!

Now this was really interesting.

You know why interesting?

Because till that time ,the GOI themselves had not said anything about casualties on the Chinese side.

To top it up, Shri Hu also seemed a bit ‘subdued’ from his characteristic bombast of recent days – calling for sanity to prevail, of all things!

Feel free to disagree, but to me it sounds like a plea not to escalate things any further.

Ok, ‘plea’ might be something that some folks may not agree with, so let me call it a ‘request’ instead.

Bottomline – The Chinese were not prepared for this magnitude of casualties on both sides. The very fact that they agreed to casualties on the PLA side and also said that they wouldn’t want to disclose their numbers, said as much.

They were willing to engage India towards de-escalation.

Ultimately, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs gave out an official statement in the evening.

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It was clear that the Chinese were unwilling to listen to reason. The MEA chose to lay the blame squarely on China. This was also the first official statement from India saying that the PLA too suffered casualties, btw.

Mind you, in the middle of it, social media ‘warriors’ (myself included!) had gone ballistic at the sheer magnitude of casualties suffered by own side.

Let it suffice to say that this ‘violent’ faceoff has been far too ‘spectacular’ to simply wish away.

It just cannot be.

Period.

Once again, let me draw an analogy with the Pulwama Attack of last year. This one too is not much different from that attack.

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(Here’s the link to the blog post in which above thought was archived – ON THE PULWAMA ATTACK)

The sheer anger that it has generated means that the GOI simply cannot NOT retaliate.

Not retaliating would not only dent the image of the Nation, but also be political suicide for the Govt of the day. Heck, the ghost of 1962 still hangs around the neck of the then Prime Minister. So no, it wasn’t a surprise that the Prime Minister said what he said in his address to the Nation in light of the loss of own troops.

His words were poignant and loaded with meaning.

The Prime Minister himself saying those words means that the back-channels that back-channels to seek any mutually agreed way out of this mess have failed.

Of course, as I said before, it is far too big to ignore altogether.

Right on cue, the Chinese Foreign Minister called up the Indian EAM soon thereafter!

Of course, a hardened Indian stand doesn’t suit the Chinese plan of just browbeating the Indian Army without having to actually fight them man to man, right?

This is what I wrote in my previous blog (linked in first para of this blog)

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The subsequent statement of the Indian External Affairs Minister too made the Indian stance abundantly clear – there is no way this latest provocation from China will be left unpunished.

Unsurprisingly, the Global Times once again recommenced its campaign of ‘terrorizing’ India with ‘jazzy’ videos of PLA troops simulating battle practice under controlled conditions!

Yup, V.E.R.Y professionally made videos.

But a ‘photogenic’ army and an effective army are two very different things, no?

Wrote a blog on that some years ago. Do read – People’s Liberation Army – A History of ‘Valour’

But then, the big question is – WHAT COMES NEXT?

This is what I wish to devote some time on, hereafter.

One thing is for sure – the way the Prime Minister and the External Affairs Minister have spoken, something will most likely happen – something very visible.

The earliest that we may see some announcement is 19 June when the all party meet shall take place. At the very least, I feel there is some sort of economic retaliation coming up against China. Let me delve on that for a moment, before moving ahead.

India’s trade deficit with China is more than $50Bn, despite all assurances by China to try and redress this imbalance. So economic retaliation does make a lot of sense. After all, China stands to lose much much more than India.

But then, this is NOT what I am getting at.

What I am more interested in, is how China takes economic sanctions from India, if it actually happens!

How they react will be really interesting to see, even if Indian sanctions are merely pinpricks compared to what the USA is doing to them!

Would the manic ego of the Chinese comrades permit them to swallow such ‘humiliation’ at the hands of an ‘uppity’ India?

With the USA, it can still be justified – it gives them a sense of having ‘arrived’, when the sole superpower is fighting an economic war with them.

But, India?

Herein lies a challenge as well.

Will this induce China to mellow down their military stand on the LAC?

I’d say No.

The sheer ego of the commies that occupy Tibet will prevent them from accepting such ‘humiliation’, that too at the hands of a supposedly ‘inferior’ neighbour.

So no, do NOT expect China to ever let go of their claims over the Galwan area by such no-kinetic means. They won’t  back-off just like that. In fact, economic measures might actually exacerbate the military situation on the LAC.

So, how might that pan out?

Well, first thing first – Til the time the LAC provocations were limited to face-offs and fists and kicks, it didn’t really matter how many troops were amassed behind, so long as you could maintain numerical superiority at the point of face-off itself.

However, in case the guns start booming, this won’t be the case.

In such a scenario, a LOT will depend upon how many troops can China build up opposite Ladakh. What also has a bearing on this is how many troops can China actually spare for this contingency, given the mess they have created on all other borders.

Remember, there are THREE aircraft carrier of the US Navy patrolling the South China Sea and thereabouts!

So coming back to Ladakh – Can they build up numerical superiority to actually militarily enforce their claims?

And then comes the question of how much numerical superiority is considered enough. Remember, the Indian EAM said it was a pre-meditated attack by China on the night of 15 June. YET, the PLA suffered fatal and non-fatal casualties to the tune of 40+.

Some ‘pre-meditation’, this, huh?

Now let me further spice things up a bit.

What is to say that a military clash, IF it comes, will stay localized to Ladakh?

I am surprised that no one is yet talking about this, atleast none that I came across on my TL.

When it comes to China, a LOT of historical wrongs are long pending to be righted. That includes the case of Coco Islands as well, doesn’t it?

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Feel free to mull over it for a moment before moving ahead.

To sum it up, escalation is very easy to achieve. Heck, the Chinese have just given us a beautiful example of that in the Galwan River area over the past few days and weeks.

But then, when it comes to de-escalation things are not so simple. Especially when you DON’T want to ‘lose face’.

And herein lies a huge challenge.

Especially when there has been such a grave provocation.

Will the Chinese agree to de-escalation wherein India gets even a ‘notion of victory’?

I’d say, No.

They won’t.

They CAN’T.

The CCP will simply HAVE to be ‘victorious’, whatever the case may be.

Such is the nature of communist regimes.

They just cannot be seen to be weak.

So brace yourselves, folks. The coming days promise to be really interesting indeed, to say the least. Indian retaliation may or may not come tomorrow, or the day after, or even next week. But come it surely will.

The first steps are likely to be economic. Military steps, much needed, if they indeed happen, might come later.

The Post-COVID world that I talked about a couple months ago seems to be shaping out just as I thought it would. This blog might be worth a relook at this point in time – The Post COVID-19 World

The above blog was followed by another one, talking specifically about India-China relationship in context of Taiwan. Do read it as well – India-Taiwan Relationship: Time for a Reset?

If you think an India-China war is coming, well let me break some news to you – It has already started when the PLA came into Galwan with intentions to stay, instead of leaving.

The thing is that the wheels of history seem to be moving faster and faster with each passing day.

A lot of changes are likely to come by very soon, including possibly in national boundaries.

Brace yourselves; it will be nothing short of a roller-coaster ride!

In the end, I’ll just leave this statement here:

 26 dynasties have ruled China over the past 22 centuries. CCP is just the 27th, and just about past the average the average lifetime of such dynasties.

On the Galwan Face-Off of 15 June 2020

(These thoughts were tweeted before the official statement from the MEA was released)

You know what is the most significant statement about current state of the #ChinaIndiaFaceoff?

Well, it is the LACK of a statement thus far by GOI.

What this tells me is that the situation is still developing. It might go downhill still, or might get resolved. Wait & watch how it pans out.

On the other hand, the Chinese govt has gone public about the incident with their spokesperson, Lijian Zhao, as well as the Global Times and Hu Xijin.

Does it say something?

I can’t be sure, but in it might lie some messaging as well.

From what is known in public domain, it might merely be an unfortunate face-off where both sides came face to face in the night time. Mind you, this is NOT a routine thing, going by previous templates of such engagements which have thus far, only been reported in daytime.

It might just be an unfortunate incident.

After all, despite all safety protocols, at the end of the day it is one body of hundreds of INDIVIDUAL human being interacting with another such body. I did speculate about that in my previous blog – On the Ladakh Standoff Between Indian and China

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OR

Might it be a pre-meditated escalation?
Not very far fetched, I’d say.

In case it be so, which side might have triggered it might be a question which may never get answered, atleast for the foreseeable future.

That is why I am, for the time being, waiting for an official word from the GOI. This is what might give an insight into the current state of affairs and likely future courses that the GOI might be contemplating.

In any case, ‘quasi-official’ sources of various influencers on social media are already in the process of divulging details in bits and pieces. Whom to believe, and whom to dismiss is solely your prerogative.

Facts, atleast as far as the number of fatalities goes, WILL emerge, since the GOI does not hide those. Numbers of non-fatal casualties may or may not be known, though. However, in any case, even in current absence of absolute facts, one this is clear – THINGS AREN’T NORMAL ANYMORE.

Where we go from here, is anybody’s guess.

In any case, what has happened, was inevitable, in my opinion.

Of course, time and circumstances under which it has happened does tend to catch one unawares. However, keeping aside the flood of emotions and anger coursing through the veins, it should rather be taken as a blessing that of the dozens of times that hundreds of troops from both sides have engaged in physical scuffling on the LAC, lives haven’t been lost much earlier.

Small mercies, huh?

After all, which two armies fight each other this way – with fists and kicks?

We should just be thankful that it is only now that things have deteriorated to this extent.

However, coming back to what I said earlier – the inevitability of it all.

As India rises to reclaim its rightful place in the larger scheme of things, increasing friction with China is inevitable. I wrote a blog on it some years ago – China & India – Together Ahead?. Do read before moving ahead.

Bottomline – A clash / conflict with China is a matter of ‘When’, not ‘If’.

Are we seeing the beginning of it?

I’d say YES.

Like it or not, it is unavoidable. At best we may kick the can a few years down the line as we build our capacities. In fact, we’ve already been doing that for some years now. Whether or not we as a Nation want it, fact is that it is coming.

Maybe tomorrow.

Or maybe a few years down the line.

Mind you, the NathuLa clash of 1967 too commenced with a Commanding Officer getting injured in firing by the PLA. Over here, it seems one Commanding Officer has actually died under circumstances that are still not very clear.

Seen in the larger scheme of things, it could also be China lashing out wherever it can, given the immense pressures they are under, thanks to their role in the possible creation and of course, the spread of the virus that resulted in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

However, that doesn’t give them a free pass to kill my soldiers.

No Way.

At the cost of repetition, I’ll once again say that the GOI will simply HAVE to react aggressively, given their reputation from past years and consequent expectations from the Nation.

What form that takes, needs to be seen.

If played well, then hindsight will tell us that this incident was just the trigger needed to ‘formally’ reset our relationship with China from the current ‘accommodative’ stand to something more natural – Adversarial, or at best, neutral.

Remember, Balakot came nearly two weeks after Pulwama. Over here, time and tenor of retribution may take a bit longer. At the very least, I see a strike on Chinese economic interests in India.

At the other end of the spectrum lies a military escalation.

For some time, cast aside your emotions and see it in the light of the US-China spat and the upcoming US Presidential elections.

For all we know, it will end up strengthening our own hand against the Chinese in a much shorter timespan than otherwise possible.

China already has her hands full across all its borders – Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, SCS, Korea – you name it and there is something or the other going on.

And then there are reports of three US Aircraft Carriers in or near the South China Sea.

Of course, I see all this  as pieces falling into place in one high stakes game of Wei Qi. 

Coming back to the Himalayas, China may have relative advantage on the LAC till such time that things are kept below a boiling point – With weapons secured behind the backs, they needn’t worry about long lines of logistics, right?

Given the fact that PLA has its hands full in other theatres as well, it is really doubtful how they can prevail on the LAC except in a handful of areas in case of a larger conflict.

Herein lies an opportunity, today or maybe a few months down the line, to regain the moral and tactical upper hand on the LAC.

Let me conclude this chain of thoughts with a simple statement – the Indian Armed Forces will do whatever the GOI tells them to do, and they will do it perfectly.

If the GOI tells them to keep their rifles slung behind their backs, this is exactly what they will do.

On the other hand, if the GOI tells them to point them across the LAC, they WILL ensure that the PLA doesn’t know what hit them.

What we usually see are figures of a 2 million strong PLA, or three divisions of PLA entering Tibet. What we often overlook is how many troops the Indian Army can bring to the same battlefield.

Mind you, I am not even talking about the other two services – the IAF and the Indian Navy.

Food for thought, right?

In the end, all I’ll say is that it might be worth waiting for a day or two in order to see how things are likely to progress.

Remember, the Chinese can come in whenever and wherever they want to. 

BUT

Escalation control thereafter lies with India as to how it reacts.

We’ve seen it in Doklam. Let us see what happens this time round.

A civilizational clash between India and China was written by fate the moment the first PLA soldier set his foot in Tibet in 1950. We might just be witnessing the unfolding of the endgame in the coming days, months and years.

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Oh, btw, how many of your remember the Finance Ministry asking sometime in 2013 whether the threat from China will still remain five years down the line, when asked for funds for additional troops for the LAC?

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I guess that question just got answered.

On the Ladakh Standoff Between Indian and China

(This chain of thoughts was tweeted by me on 01 June 2020. Plugging it here for archival purposes)

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This tweet above and the video embedded therein generated quite a bit of ‘excitement’ on my twitter Timeline. So I thought I’d share some thoughts on the current snafu on the LAC.
But before moving ahead, let me offer a disclaimer. I don’t intend to go into the specifics of the alignment of the LAC between the two countries. Enough has already been said on that, by the doomsday walas as well as the ‘All is Well’ walas.
Instead, what I intend to talk about is my thoughts on the fairly regular ‘interaction’ between the two militaries on the LAC, one aspect of which is depicted in the video above. Do watch it before reading ahead in this blog post, if not watched already. Here it is –
That there is a dispute, is undeniable.
But then, what exactly is this dispute that we keep hearing about?
Well, to put it simply – the two sides do not agree as to where the LAC lies in a few sectors – thus what is called ‘Claim Lines’, wherein both sides feel that the other side claims ‘their’ land. THIS is the ‘difference in perception’ that the Raksha Mantri talked about some time ago.
With both sides keen to retain their claims, patrolling parties inevitably ‘cross over’ into areas claimed to be theirs by the opposing side.
Hence the occasional video / photograph of both sides engaged in shoving and jostling with each other.
This is the ‘normal’ interaction between the Indian Army and the PLA.
Sharing some photographs to put things in correct perspective before moving ahead with my observations.
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Here is a video as well, for those interested. Do watch it, atleast partially before moving ahead, since it has a bearing on what in intend writing further.

Did you notice something?

 

Did you see a difference from the way the Indian Army ‘interacts’ with the Packies across the LoC? Here is a video of one such ‘interaction’ that I am talking about –

 

The LAC too is disputed. But we don’t see such videos over there, right?

Once again, refer back to the photos & the video of IA and  PLA shared above.
Did you see that both sides are carrying their weapons?
Yet they choose NOT to use them and instead, keep them slung behind their backs?
BOTH sides follow this rule religiously. Ever wondered why?
Could it be due to an understanding – formal or informal – of NOT escalating things beyond a certain point?
I’d say YES.
Both sides are content to raise banners to inform the other of transgression into their claimed areas, which might of course, overlap with the other side’s claim.
This, folks, is the ‘routine’ interaction on the LAC.
Why I use the word ‘routine’?
Because visuals from Doklam days and this current video posted in the first part of this blog indicate that when things are NOT normal, they usually don’t even carry weapons!
Don’t believe me?
Just watch the video in the beginning of this blog post and search for any weapon apart from sticks!
Or this video below from Doklam days in which the only ‘shooting’ being done is from cameras. Once again, no rifles!
The thing is, despite all sorts of provocations at higher echelons, the interaction on the ground between both armies is diligently kept below a level that might cause grievous bodily harm to anyone from the other side.
Bottomline: NONE seek escalation beyond a point.
Period.
So what about all those reports of a buildup of ‘tens of thousands of troops’ behind the area of the current standoff?
Well, didn’t we hear the same during the Doklam days?
Oh, and talking about Doklam, that standoff lasted nearly 2.5 months whereas this one is less than a month old!
Mind you, I am not saying that this too will follow the same template as in Doklam.
Things might still go downhill. It is about whether both govts can come up with a via media wherein a de-escalation can be ‘sold’ to domestic audiences as a ‘victory’ by boths sides, real or imagined.
It is HERE that the current issue lies.
Like it or not, the release of the video of the Chinese boy captured by the Indian troopers and the counter visuals of Indian troops in Chinese hands do not help the cause.
Is it a cause for worry, though?
Of course, it is.
But not for reasons we might think.
In a far-fetched contingency, in case guns do start booming, will such scenarios matter?
No Way!
First of all, the last time that guns boomed on the LAC was in Sep-Oct 1967, i.e. more than half a century ago. And unsurprisingly, it was the Chinese that came second best!
For those who aren’t aware, just google for Chola and Nathula clashes.
Yet, we remain fixated with 1962, not realizing that there too, wherever he was led well, the Indian soldier stood like a ROCK in the path of Chinese hordes, making them pay dearly with their blood for every inch of territory they gained.

But is it to say that this current standoff too will degenerate further in to a shooting match?Well, thus far, I’ve seen both sides exercise enough caution to indicate that they are not really interested in that. (Once again, I’m NOT going to talk about merits / demerits of that)

However, at the end of the day, despite all policies and agreements on that account, it remains the soldiers on the ground who are ultimately entrusted with ensuring that it remains thus.
What is to say that in the heat of the moment, a Jat, or a Sikh, or a Gorkha, or any other soldier of the Indian Army, or for that matter, one from the PLA will NOT end up losing his cool and end up initiating a chain of events that may potentially take the entire situation downhill?
Remember, the Chola clash of 1967 started not with a rifle being fired, but a Khukri being flashed, resulting in a Chinese sentry losing his arm to a Gorkha soldier of 7/11 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army.
As I’ve said before, human element plays a big role.
It is here that the military leadership at lower levels assumes paramount importance. To that end, hats off indeed to the immense maturity displayed by the young Indian commander in the video at the beginning of this blog post, in ensuring that the captured PLA boy doesn’t come to more harm at the hands of his men.
But then, what exactly happens in case situation deteriorates and guns actually end up opening up again on the LAC after nearly 53 years?
First of all, all those beautifully pitched tents of the PLA being shared as photographic evidence will be up in smoke for sure! Satellite imagery works both ways, no?
In any case, this is very nearly the same area where TWO Param Vir Chakras were earned by the Indian Army in 1962 – by Major Dhan Singh Thapa and Major Shaitan Singh – both extracting the lives of thousands of PLA troops in the process.
But can today’s PLA afford the same tactics? Especially with One Child Policy and their recruitment base comprising entirely of ‘Little Emperors’ who are used to a cushy lifestyle? How will they live in Ladakh without their oxygenated tents? Do read this  – Chinese army is full of wimps, sissies & little emperors. We are not saying this. This is what China thinks
But then, the above can surely be dismissed as a merely academic point of view and not truly reflective of their fighting capabilities, right?
Well, of course!
But fact remains that the last PLA soldier to fire in anger at an enemy was way back in 1979 during their invasion of Vietnam where they went to ‘teach Vietnam a lesson’.
But it was they who ended up getting ‘taught’, that too when a large chunk of the Vietnamese Army was employed in Cambodia at that time, fighting the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime!
But that too was more than four decades ago, so it may not hold true today, right?
Well, the last time the PLA troops came under fire was as late as 2015 in South Sudan. But then, instead of putting up a fight, they chose to RUN AWAY!
I wrote a short blog post about that some years ago. MUST read – People’s Liberation Army – Calling the Bluff
As a follow-up of that incident, I came across the account of the battle by the Indian company commander who pulled PLA nuts out of fire. He says that when he asked the PLA commander as to why they abandoned their post, the answer was ‘Because it was not safe out there.’
Yes, this was a commander in a professional, well equipped army, talking about a situation created by a rag-tag militia in South Sudan!
Here is the blog post that chronicles that exchange. A lot of interesting nuggets of information in that as well – People’s Liberation Army – Calling The Bluff (Part II)
But coming back to the current standoff, that we (as well as the Chinese) choose not to escalate and instead, seek diplomatic solution instead of military escalation. It is not a reflection of the professionalism of the Indian Army, but instead, a well considered decision of the Govt of India.
And dare I say, the Govt of India doesn’t choose this option from a position of weakness, but from one of strength, with full confidence in its army to deliver on whatever directions it gets. Doklam is a very recent example of this.
Cant’ say the same for the PLA, though, given their performance under fire in South Sudan. Till such time the rifles are slung behind the backs on the LAC, no side has a relative advantage. But in a scenario when this no longer holds, the Indian Army is well capable of ‘surprising’ the hubristic PLA.
An India-China showdown is inevitable, given that both are jostling for the same geopolitical space.
But that is not to say that it will happen right now!
It will happen when it happens.
This blog post chronicles my views on this aspect as well – China & India – Together Ahead?
As for the current standoff, I’ll just leave THIS piece here. Make your own assumptions.
Oh, and talking about ‘Little Emperors’ that make up the PLA soldiers, HERE is another piece that first came to my notice some years ago. Worth a read.
To conclude, those predicting doomsday for the Motherland would be well advised to take a swig of their favourite alcoholic beverage in order to calm their nerves. An escalation may or may not happen, but even if it does, trust your army to deliver!
In the end, let me share some thoughts that I blogged when the Doklam crisis was still ‘hot’. Similarities with the current one might still emerge. Here it is – Doklam Standoff: Thoughts on the Endgame

PULWAMA – A CLOSE CALL!

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Folks, sharing some thoughts on the recently foiled terror attack in Pulwama.
What I find surprising is how little ‘air-time’ it has received on social media and even mainstream media.
Why?
Just because it was unsuccessful?
Let me put things into context.
Firstly, let me discuss what exactly was being planned.
The Pulwama Attack of Feb 2019 is just over one year old, so we all remember that, right?
This one too was looking at something similar in effect – visual as well as material damages as the one last year. This car too was laden with 60+ kilograms of explosive.
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You know what 60kg explosive can do? Well here is the video of the explosion caused when the IED was detonated in a controlled environment by own troops some time ago.
To put things in another context, Wikipedia tells me that the Brahmos missile has a 200kg warhead.
So this car was laden with about 1/3rd of that.
Yup let that sink in a bit – SIXTY KG!
Just imagine the effect this would have had on yet another soft skinned vehicle carrying about 40-50 CRPF troopers, as was the original plan of the bastards.
Hope you see where I am getting to ..
What our boys have achieved is NOT merely averting a terror attack, but possibly another military clash, perhaps far bigger than what came in light of the Pulwama attack of last year.
Here I take a moment to thank them all for their selfless service to the Motherland.
Just imagine what might have been the aftermath had this attack been successful.
With the experience of Feb 2019, the GOI would have been expected to act with no lesser fury. But .. is it the right time for that?
The Nation is just about settling down as it fights COVID-19 and the attendant social and economic challenges that come with it. Of course Beggaristan too is dealing with it, but about their ‘fight’ with the disease, lesser said, better it is.
Then there is the ongoing fracas on the LAC with the Chinese. I’ll leave that bit out of further discussion on this blog post because I intend writing about it separately in a few days.
But, a major terror attack of the kind that was just foiled and the expected aftermath would have definitely made Indian position a bit more difficult, no?
Is it too fantastical to claim that Pakistan was acting like a true and loyal lap-dog of China when it attempted this attack?
Why else would the Terroristani Beggar-in-Chief allude to a ‘false-flag’ attack by India FOUR TIMES IN PAST THREE WEEKS?
As the Prime Minister, I’m sure he knows what his Brown Panted boys are upto, right?
You want a smoking gun?
Here it is.
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The Bastards had already thought up yet another ‘brilliant’ alibi for what they knew was to come in Kashmir. Remember Musharraf and his ‘freedom fighters’ occupying heights in Kargils in 1999?
Yes, these idiots are not very creative, I must say.
Before moving ahead, let me just leave this screenshot of a tweet from two weeks before the attack was foiled.
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Now with the benefit of hindsight, would you call that ‘incident’ of running through checkposts a trial run?
Would you call the people who went mad, accusing own forces of high-handedness, fifth columnists working for the enemy?
(Disclaimer: This comment is generic in nature, no alluding to Shri Gokhale personally in any manner)
That incident was dismissed as a mere ‘traffic violation’ by some folks.
Technically, this one too was a much similar ‘traffic violation’, no? This time too the forces fired at the vehicle, sadly missing the driver who chose to run away.
Now just imagine if the media had just broken this part of the story – the same rudaali would have been commenced by the usual suspects.
So should I say ‘Thank God’ that this time the vehicle was found to be laden with explosives?
These homegrown ‘liberals’ are either willing pawns in the hands of Pakistan, or sheer idiots unwittingly doing their bidding.
I’ll let you decide on that. As far as my opinion goes, I’d rather reserve it to myself, lest I cause a furore!
Btw, for a moment just imagine if this attack had succeeded.
Pakistan would have been crying hoarse with cries of ‘Imran Khan told you so’, ‘Imran Khan Zindabad’ and such likes, in addition to ISPR’s brilliant hashtag campaign on Twitter, right?
As far as homegrown Jaichands go, Pulwama 2019 template is still too fresh to be elaborated all over again.
To cut a long story short, they would be gloating, just like last year, happy that the Govt of India is in a spot; not caring for the killing of the Nation’s soldiers .. THEIR soldiers.
With the forces already engaged with China on the LAC, this would have only relieved pressure on the Chinese for the time being, enabling them to concentrate better on their own self-created siyaapas in the SCS and Hong Kong, with their India front secure, no?
Btw, before moving ahead, let me just plug THIS tweet here in this thread.
Willful partners of Pakistan, or unwitting accomplices – I’ll leave that to your judgement
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Ok, so back to the blog post.
This Nation of ours seems truly blessed that despite being surrounded by enemies outside as well as within, we are somehow able to keep plodding forward. Thank God for the countless, faceless men and women who put their very lives on the line day in and day out for our safety.
I’ve said it before as well –  The real fight coming up is that of China with the rest of the world.
The way the Chinese are thrashing about everywhere is indicative of the terror that they are feeling within, despite the bravado outside.
It is here that pet dogs can and WILL be put to good use. What better than to force a principle land adversary to look AWAY from the Himalayan borders as the commies go about sorting out their own mess?
Especially when a few crumbs thrown at Rawalpindi would do the trick?
Let me say again – I would NOT want this to be treated as a terror attack that has been foiled. Rather, I would like to see this treated as a full-fledged attack mounted by Pakistan that our forces have beaten back, just like in the 1965 or 1971 wars,
Retribution MUST be visited on those responsible.
Thankfully, the pressure to do so immediately is not there this time round because the IED exploded at a time and place where WE wanted it, not when the Terror Central based out of Rawalpindi wanted.
So here I finish this blog post, once again with heartfelt gratitude to all our warriors who have just done what they are tasked to do. Let the enemies outside and within do their worst.
WE SHALL PREVAIL.
ALWAYS.
Jai Hind

India-Taiwan Relationship: Time for a Reset?

So this tweet generated quite an interesting discussion on my mentions yesterday.

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Even though the circumstances regarding the WHO meet have changed by now, yet I will take some time to take this chain of thoughts forward. So here are my thoughts on whether it is time for Indian to change her policy on Taiwan. 

Firstly, why the current policy?

Well, this is due to the Paranoid Republic of China’s insistence on the world recognizing Taiwan as their province; basically the ‘One China Policy’.

Never mind that the Taiwanese have been administering themselves for the past 71 years in a democratic republic that the Communist overlords of China can only find threatening to their very survival!

After all, how can a ‘renegade’ province of the Middle Kingdom be democratic!

So much so that they go on issuing ‘experience’ certificates to all that ‘dare’ to engage with Taiwan!

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With their increased economic and military heft, they have been successful in bulldozing practically the entire world in keeping Taiwan at an arm’s length.

To be fair to the CCP, they did it because, well, they could!

Might is right, after all!

I won’t delve much on that since it is a well known fact. However, what has happened in the very recent past is that the #WuhanCoronaVirus pandemic has shaken the very foundations of the current world order.

I wrote about that some weeks ago, HERE.

Herein lies an opportunity for the entire world to shrug off the rising Middle Kingdom & their arrogant, sanctimonious ways.

Knowing the Chinese, they must have prepared a roadmap for next 50 years as to how to go about their ‘peaceful’ rise & who all to ‘teach a lesson’ on the way as they do so. But this #ChineseVirus pandemic and their typical handling of the entire mess has put a MASSIVE spoke in the wheels of history that the Chinese must have planned for themselves.

EACH and EVERY person in each and every country, more or less, is seething with anger at them.

Even as Trump said that the US might even de-couple from China in ALL respects across the board, others too are doing much the same, or atleast a bit of the same.

Bottomline is that the world is changing faster and faster, geopolitically speaking.

India won’t be immune to it either, in case anyone of us is thinking that way. We may not be faced with a ‘With us or Against us’ question, but the thing is that we will be EXPECTED to play the role of an upcoming power that we are.

Going forward from this point, let me offer a disclaimer – I am in no way prescribing a ‘way ahead’ for Govt of India. What I write hereon are strictly my personal views!

I am sanguine that the GOI will act in whatever way they feel is best for the country under current circumstances. It may or may not conform to my views, but so be it!

Coming to the issue of India and her re-evaluating relationship with Taiwan, let us be very clear about one thing – The current relationship is what it is, thanks to the ‘sensitivities’ of the Paranoid Republic of China.

Let’s have no doubt about that.

And, a reset in the India-Taiwan relationship too will be an outcome of the state of India-China relationship.

Which brings me to the next question – What is the current state of the India-China relationship?

Well .. does that really need an answer?

China has been our neighbour ever since they invaded Tibet in 1950. Ever since then, they have been an excellent example of a BAD neighbour.

I’ll be glad to be corrected on the above statement!

I think this tweet below sums up the current India-China relationship perfectly.

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The Paranoid Republic of China is NO ONE’S friend. They will act nice if you kowtow. Else they WILL do all in their powers to undermine you.

Period.

As far as India goes, they have been shielding the terrorist Masood Azhar at every international forum. They have been dumping cheap goods in our markets, undermining our own manufacturing industry.

Heck, they provided the NUCLEAR BOMB to Pakistan!

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Oh, and did I tell you that they also provided missiles to Pakistan to deliver those nukes to India?

Well they did!

How else would Pakistan – a country that didn’t even manufacture ball bearings at that time, get a missile programme all of a sudden?! (State Department Issued Public Notice of MTCR Sanctions Against China.)

So, is it time for a reboot of India’s relationship with China?

I’d say, YES it is.

We are in the midst of a massive ‘Manthan‘ these days. In fact the entire world is.

All thanks to the #CCPVirus.

Indian economy is staring at another 1991 type moment today – both in terms of challenges as also, opportunities. Given the recent announcements by the Finance Minister, the changes expected in the coming months are not merely expected to stem the downfall, but instead, to unshackle it all over again and establish India as a major manufacturing hub, unburdened by antiquated laws.

Herein also lies a hint in what the Prime Minister said – Aatmanirbhar Bharat!

For all those who care to listen, it also means saying NO to cheap, CCP subsidized Chinese imports that are killing our own industry.

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Thing is, that this blog post of mine might actually be a bit too late, and a reset of India-China relations might already be well and truly underway.

Hints too are everywhere.

Trump has well & truly shaken up the ‘normal’. And to compliment him, there is a GOI with an immense popular mandate as well!

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Now since I said that ‘hints are everywhere’, does that mean our friends, the Chinese too are listening to it?

I’d say yes they are.

So how do they react?

Well, you may want to revisit this tweet again!

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Recent transgressions on the LAC do point to an arm-twisting kind of a tactic in order to warn India to stay away from the US-China spat. Such transgressions have happened earlier too, most prominently when Emperor Xi ‘Winnie The Pooh’ Jinping visited Gujarat some years ago. 

So, to that end, it could still be dismissed as mere posturing.

But then, via their commie proxies in Nepal, they opened up another front – a non-existent border dispute at Lipulekh Pass.

Do you still think this is mere posturing?

Well, I don’t.

To me, it seems that the Chinese have already fired a shot across our bow.

What makes me say this?

It is THIS statement by the Chinese representative in New Delhi that made be take note!

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And he says it with a straight face, no less, even as his army gets into fisticuffs with ours on the borders!

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A popular saying about ‘actions and words’ comes to my mind!

Bottomline: The world is rapidly realigning.

Non alignment in this time and age might not be an option.

Heck, it might not even be advisable since we might have more to lose than gain if we stand aside!

Just as the Lord knew that Mahabharat was inevitable, despite he himself taking the Pandavas’ offer of peace in lieu of five villages to the Kauravas, so is this new and upcoming New World Order.

To stand aloof is NOT going to be an option this time round.

Especially when India stands to gain perhaps the maximum out of a PRC cut down to size. I wrote a BLOG on what I foresee coming in the coming weeks and months, less than two weeks ago.

Dare I say, things are already moving that way.

Do have a look at the above quoted blog post whenever you get the time!

What might be the first shot, remains to be seen.

For all we know, it might be forthcoming at the WHO in a matter of a few hours from right now (Coalition of 62 nations backs Australia’s push for COVID-19 probe)

Disagree with me on the W.H.O thing?

Well, that’s your choice.

But I did notice that Chairman Xi Jinping postponed a major CCP event that was about to happen at about the same time.

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Do tell me again why he is not spooked!

Guess why the Chinese are so angry with Australia for asking for an independent probe into the origin of the coronavirus pandemic?

Do they feel threatened?

If not, then why are they lashing out?

Heck, there is already talk in the USA of an alternative grouping in lieu of the W.H.O in case they do not desist from doing Chinese bidding. Just see this video at about the 1:15 mark!

Like I said in the beginning of this blog post, it STILL might not begin at the W.H.O, but happen it will!

If not this week then maybe the week after.

If not at the W.H.O, then at the economic front.

But happen it will!

Why do I get the feeling that a reset of relationship with Taiwan will form an inescapable part of this upcoming showdown?

Not just by the US, but by India as well?

If not full diplomatic recognition, then maybe a vote in their favour over China?

Food for thought, no?

Yes, Taiwan’s map of China claims Arunachal Pradesh. But will that really matter in case China itself retreats from Tibet?

Yes, I know it is a long shot, but not entirely impossible.

In any case, whom would you prefer as a neighbour when it comes to resolving a boundary dispute – an intensely dogmatic communist regime that simply will NOT listen to reason, or a democratic nation who is open to negotiations?

Remember the enclaves swap with Bangladesh some years ago?

As I wind up this blog post, all I will say that time has come to bite the bullet, either which way. It is nothing short of a ‘Dharm Yudhh’ that faces us and the rest of the world.

Yes, the ‘Manthan’ that I talked about above WILL throw up poison as well, before the nectar.

But it will happen regardless of we being part of the Manthan or not.

We should be prepared to deal with the poison, in order to get to the nectar eventually.

The more people there are to share the poison, the better it will be, no?

Even if it is in the form of a vote in favour of Taiwan, if not an outright diplomatic recognition, all I’ll say is Bring It On!

We should not, in fact we CANNOT sit this one out.

Period.

TOILET – EK (PAKISTANI) PREM KATHA

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What I have learnt / observed after about a decade plus of my experience with social media that what you see above is this the favourite ‘comeback’ of Pakistanis, regardless of what begins a ‘discussion’ with these folks, especially when their views are NOT solicited in any case!

Though this sample is yet another Pakistani who has made it to my muted accounts’ list, I thought I’d indulge this one just a tad bit more.

The buggers across the border seem to be a bit too overtly infatuated with the state of access to toilets in India. To be fair, there did use to be some merit in this line of thought till about five years ago, no doubt.

Till the previous Govt of India built 100million+ toilets, that is!

Yes, mindsets will take still a bit more time to change, but change they will. More so once each and every household gets piped water as planned by the current Govt of India.

But then, who will tell the yahoos inhabiting the lands to our West is the moot question.

Another question is that of living in glass houses and YET choosing to change clothes with lights on!

HERE is a report from one of their own newspapers quoting a figure – A figure of 41 MILLION Pakistanis without access to toilets. A figure that is almost TWENTY PERCENT of their reported population!

But Nope.

They will continue to be infatuated with us poor Indians, despite the 110 million toilets constructed in the last five years!

Let me spend some more time with the report above.

So Wikipedia tells me that Lahore is a city of more than 11 million people. YET, they only have 21 public toilets in the city!!

Yes TWENTY ONE ONLY!!

And most of them are plain filthy.

I didn’t say it. Their own newspapers report it!

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But No!

NO Pakistani defecates in the open as per these ostriches.

To top it, they also get magical powers to see Indians across the border lined up on railway tracks!

In addition, they will just not tell you that 125,000 of their children die each year due to diarrhea before reaching the age of five. Read this and weep, dear reader, for a country that is unable to control diarrhea deaths. (HERE is the link to a Pakistani newspaper reporting these figures, in case you have any doubts)

Not only that, they are content to report that the number of deaths have remained stagnant over the years, instead of going down – something which a proactive government and a somewhat ‘normal’ citizenry would have ensured!

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Of course the glass house dwelling Pakistani will point fingers at India as well.

Well, India, with more than six times the population, has fewer number of diarrhea related deaths for children under the age of five.

And what’s more, the absolute numbers for India too have been declining steadily over the years, reducing by 52% in the last one decade itself! (LINK)

I’m sure ‘friends’ from across India’s Western borders will be glad that they have beaten India in yet another statistic. Kudos to them all!

Oh, and the above report also contains a V.E.R.Y interesting statistic about access to sanitation India. I’ll just leave a screenshot for the benefit of our Pakistani ‘friends’ who are still stuck in the past, of course without blinkers that prevent them from seeing their own sorry state!

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But then, what are a few hundred thousand children dead for a country which not only brought back Polio – a disease eradicated from much of the civilized world, but also actively hunts down its own people trying to immunize its children against it, right? But this is a topic for some other day.

Let me, for the time being, take you back to the screenshot above. 

Why, you ask?

Well, because here is a comparative statistic – 52% Pakistanis lack access to sanitary facilities compared to 19.35% Indians! (HERE is a Pakistani report giving the statistic of 52%)

Oh, and another interesting nugget of info reported by their own press – 79 Million lack access to a decent toilet! (LINK – 79m Pakistanis still lack a decent toilet: report)

BUT .. despite all those new toilets constructed, India still needs to be mocked, because, well Ostriches continue to live in the past!

Of course, with 60% of the population living at less than $2/day, it is better to look outside for solace, no? (LINK – Why poverty hasn’t reduced significantly in Pakistan)

Hence the India bogey!

But what they forget is that India is well on its way to add a Pakistan (economically of course), to its GDP every year within the next 3-4 years!

And with Pak GDP growth rate just about equal to or even less than the population growth rate and about to fall further in the wake of the current #CoronaVirus mess & with govt revenues falling short of even the yearly debt servicing commitments, well, point fingers at India!

Here are some statistics from the Beggar-in-Chief himself.

The Pakistani PRIME MINISTER himself says that 55% Pakistanis don’t have access to a toilet. I guess being a nuclear power with a bloated military budget covers up for it, right?

And here’s some more on the toilet saga in Pakistan, once again straight from the Prime Minister.

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I know this is a very dark chain of thoughts, but then it just had to be laid out here in the fashion I have done, even if for nothing else than just archiving facts to counter the nonsensical propaganda from across.

Poverty is indeed the biggest challenge. As an Indian I know it all too well. And I do NOT mock others’ poverty, especially when my own country still has far to go.

But then, some folks just need this treatment. 

First set your OWN house in order and only THEN point fingers at mine, especially when my own economy is doing way better than yours, and better than almost everyone else’s in this world despite the myriad economic challenges.

A CONSPIRACY THEORY!

Folks, moving on from THIS blog that was posted about two weeks ago, let me share some ‘wild’ conspiracy theories about what I see happening in the coming few months.
Once again, writing on the go, so let’s see how this chain of thoughts goes!

Firstly, let me share with you all what triggered this chain of thoughts.
It was the tweet by Trump that the Chinese would be happy to see him lose the upcoming elections. Here is a screenshot of the tweet : 

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Now this is B.I.G
Here is a sitting President of USA openly insinuating that China is the enemy as far as his re-election bid goes.
Let me just say that such a statement means that he is committed to make China lose in order to win his upcoming re-election bid in about six months. 

Is this a ‘spur of the moment’ tweet? I’d say not. Reason – The politician in him knows that there is widespread anger & disgust against China, thanks to the fiasco that their mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent attempts at ‘managing’ the public perception that actually backfired, thanks to their high-handed attempts. Did a short thread on Twitter about that as well. May have a look HERE, if interested.

So coming back to this blog, what does it mean, going ahead.

A constituency already exists which will endorse anything he does against China. And this cuts across political affiliations amongst the American electorate. What I foresee is a number of events in the coming few months that will, in all probability, make relatively recent US-China Trade War pale in comparison. Yes, this is likely to happen within the next few months, or even in a matter of weeks since timing it to pay dividends during the upcoming election won’t be a bad idea either!

Once again, remember, the US Presidential election is ONLY about six months hence. Another thing that underscores this belief of mine is the relatively speedily moving chain of events / statements from people in the know.

Sharing some screenshots here (For your eyes only!)

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Go through the screenshots in the above thread again.
Fairly routine, no – blaming China and blah blah blah?
Or are they?
Yup, look again!
THIS is the one that caught my eye when it appeared on my TL! 

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Did the US just call for junking the ‘One China Policy’, adherence to which is COMPULSORY if you want the Chinese to ‘oblige’ you by doing business with you?
Well, looks like the US Mission in UN just took the wind out of the sails of the ‘One China Policy’!

This is H.U.G.E

An interesting nugget of info – Till 1971, it was the Republic of China (or Taiwan) that held the permanent UN Seat along with the Veto, which was thereafter given to the Peoples Republic of China after the Nixon-Kissinger led détente with Mao.

But .. coming back to the four screenshots shared above. Here is another one.

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Why this tweet?

Because the phrase “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!” actually spurred the breaking down of the Berlin Wall & subsequent break-up of the USSR.

Talk about signalling, eh?

So, signalling apart, what is it that the USA under Trump can actually do to China?
Well, I’d say there is a lot that can be done.
It can range all the way from tariff increases to throwing out all Chinese companies and businesses from the US!

I understand if you say I am daydreaming outlandish dreams. I won’t fault you for that. Remember, I used the words ‘Conspiracy Theories’ in the very beginning of this blog!

So, back to my flights of fancy!

Remember, America just announced a stimulus package of TWO TRILLION dollars to jump-start its economy. The question is, where does this money come from?

Of course, they can simply print away in their dollar printing presses, no?

OR ..

They can seek reparations from China?
Just like a few other countries are already doing, no?
In fact, they are already in the process of doing so, by the way of lawsuits already filed in US courts or in the process of being filed!

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Do you still think it is mere signalling and hot air?
Think again.
If it were merely so, why would China be spooked like hell?
Why would Shri Hu Xijin, the de-facto social media mouthpiece of the CCP make this ‘not so veiled’ counter-threat?
What does he know that we don’t?

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And more importantly, what does China have to lose in the midst of this all?

Let us see ..

(A) 1.1 TRILLION dollars worth of American debt that they have purchased by the way of American treasury bonds.

(B) (Well, do you need any more examples after the above one?!)

The question now is .. Will He Do It?

My counter question to that is .. WHY WON’T HE?

What does he have to lose, huh, except a second term as the President of the USA?

You do the Math!

There are already talks about removing sovereign immunity of China in US, remember?

Would China react?

Of course they would!

Chairman Xi ‘Winnie The Pooh’ Jinping wouldn’t want to be sent to a re-education camp, would he?

‘coz that is exactly what will happen since he is already mightily weakened within! (If you don’t believe me, start by reading THIS piece)

To top it, his ‘defeat’ in the recent US-China trade war hasn’t done him any favours either!

Now, top that with the COVID-19 and the attendant negative press and you get my drift, right?

Btw, speaking of Xi Jinping, here is what I tweeted some weeks ago! 

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But then, when it comes to a matter of life and death, can China afford NOT to react?
They did react in whatever way they could during the trade war.

But to what end?

Bottomline – They have no counter leverage on the US.

But, what is to say that things will only stay confined to economic realm?
A dying empire of an emperor who has everything to lose will simply HAVE to thrash out, even if in sheer impotence. Here one needs to look at recent happenings in South China Sea as well!

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(HERE is the link to the tweet above, for those interested)

What bolsters my belief is the fact that the US is rapidly reclaiming the space it had to unwillingly cede to China due to its Navy getting laid low on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Heck, USS Nimitz is already on its way to the SCS!

Here’s some more food for thought, btw!

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Btw, Taiwan too is moving in to play the game.

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They’ve waited long enough for the day they achieve their manifest destiny. To them I’d say, time is nigh!
One wouldn’t be surprised to see Taiwan actually end up in the UN at about this time next year!

Bottomline – The China dream is over. Their dreams of playing the big brother to the rest of the world will not fructify. They still have NO idea about how much bad press they have accumulated for themselves in eyes of practically each and every common citizen of the free world.

The hubristic and autocratic CCP have failed spectacularly in failing to recognize that people outside of their control won’t simply roll over and believe whatever propaganda they dish out.

And then, they seek to interfere in democratic elections in the USA of all places!

Coming back to the US elections – do you also see a political masterstroke in Trump’s statement that Joe Biden is China’s preferred candidate?

Do you see what it does to Biden?

Trump has forced Biden to prove that he is NOT doing China’s bidding, atleast till the election day!

All in all, I foresee a repeat of the US-China trade war in the coming few weeks, only this time on steroids.

Chinese industry being chucked out – Check
Lawsuits against China – Check
Chinese assets being seized – Check
Chinese govt personnel being sanctioned – Check

Now add:
USS Nimitz transiting thru the Taiwan Strait – Who knows!
A shooting clash in the SCS – QUITE likely, I’d say
Removal of Xi Jinping by 2022 – Very likely
US recognition of Taiwan – ??

But then, this is all just a conspiracy theory / figment of my imagination, no?!

JMTs

The Post COVID-19 World

Folks, sharing some thoughts about the Post-WuhanVirus world that have been playing in my mind. Will talk about some happenings that are commonly known, without giving many links since that will be a bit too much work at this time.

Thoughts are still random and unstructured. But I hope it’ll make sense eventually.

Here goes ..

Firstly, let there be no doubt that it is a virus that has originated in China. I’ll not debate the veracity of this claim that I make, but I merely echo the general perception of the common man on the ground all across the globe when I say this.

And I stand by my opinion, regardless of what the Chinese propaganda machinery says, with its army of newly minted bots parroting the party line. Did a short thread on it on Twitter some days ago. May have a look – LINK. Will keep adding to it as well, so do keep track.

Even though the world is busy fighting the immediate fight – against the virus itself, let me offer a statement: THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT, HAS CHANGED.

Yes, plz read the above statement once again and ponder over it for a few moments.

Yes, you read it right. The world has already changed. What form this changed world takes, remains to be seen and will be apparent soon, maybe even within the next 6 to 8 months, once the immediate danger of the virus itself has passed.

The new world may find itself doing China’s bidding for all we know, or it may find China on its knees, it may see the West weaken, or even a slow motion break-up of the European Union itself, Middle-East may yet go back to desertification and Japan emerge as a manufacturing hub.

Point is, that it took world shaking events like two devastating world wars with a failed League of Nations in-between and a long and protracted Cold War to arrive at the current world order.

What we are seeing today with the Wuhan Corona Virus is nothing short of that.

In fact it is much more ‘world shaking’ than even the world wars because each and every human being KNOWS he or she is directly threatened by this virus. Chinese propaganda machinery showing all those horrific visuals from early days of lockdown in Wuhan didn’t help much either.

Which brings me to the role of China itself. Be it a lab-manufactured virus, or something that happened naturally, or whatever that guy from the WHO parrots, fact remains that it was first observed in China and it is from there that it has travelled to virtually every corner of the world.

However, with China more or less shut down in months of Jan-March 2020, the world realized one thing – putting all your eggs in a single (manufacturing) basket had a lot of unforeseen repercussions in terms of a virtual stoppage in a lot of critical supply chains. And then, thanks to their early exposure (or a pre-prepared vaccine as some speculate), China was amongst the first few of the majorly affected countries that brought the situation somewhat under control and with much fanfare, restarted her factories.

There was hope, until the Chinese revealed their ultimate weapon – the Middle Kingdom Syndrome.

They went ballistic with their ‘anger’ at the much justifiable backlash at their own mishandling of the issue in the very initial days.

Surprised, anyone?

I for one, am not!

There were reports that the quintessential Godless businessmen that the Chinese are, they were demanding that their crown jewel, Huawei be given the go-ahead for establishing 5G networks in countries such as Britain and France, before they would supply life saving equipment in terms of thermometers, PPEs, masks, gloves etc.  

It was nothing less than a hostage situation, with lives of humans at stake, that China had created.

The ‘barbarians’ had no choice but to kowtow, they thought.

But the hubristic Middle Kingdom was shocked to its core when it realized that not only were the ‘barbarians’ NOT kowtowing to its ruler, but instead they were accusing the Middle Kingdom itself for being .. well .. the Middle Kingdom!

There were reports that countries were not buying into the Middle Kingdom’s demands of giving their strategic 5G networks to Huawei. Britain was mulling officially barring Huawei. France had rejected the aid offer linked with Huawei.

The Middle Kingdom was suddenly in uncharted territory – it was not getting what it was demanding! They unleashed their army of social media warriors under their own Propaganda-in-Chief, Lijian Zhao, who himself had learnt the art of ‘Fifth Generation Warfare’ while in Pakistan not so long ago!

In addition, came a glut of ‘compliant’ articles on much of the world’s more ‘respected’ media houses. Then there were the Chinese diplomats who too did their bit by trying their darnedest best in the freedom of speech in their own host countries, leading at times to unforeseen results, to which I am sure, many heads would have rolled, mostly figuratively, but also atleast some literally, trying to figure out a counter. My personal favourite is THIS one by the Daily Telegraph in Australia. Do read.

Of course the Middle Kingdom had to reply to this ‘insult’ by the ‘barbarians’ and their free press. So they submitted an article in rebuttal. Sadly, the good folks at the Daily Telegraph subjected the letter thru their own version of a Chinese censor and THIS is what came out!

Daily Telegraph Australia

Bottomline: The world beyond their borders and except their one and only ‘true’ friend, Pakistan was simply NOT in a mood to buy their bullshit anymore. They were literally clutching at the straws out here. There was even a tweet by an official Chinese handle quoting a Pakistani ‘expert’ who claimed that the virus didn’t originate in China. Clearly, it wasn’t working. Not very long thereafter, a Danish newspaper published this:

Danish Newspaper China Virus

So the Chinese decided to go on a different tract. There were soon photos of Chinese origin relief material being shipped all over the world. Even Jack Ma, a prized asset of the CCP, posed in front of one such consignment and tweeted about it.

However, almost immediately, commenced reports of Chinese equipment being substandard and unusable at best, and even deliberately wrongly calibrated at worst. There were reports of Chinese factory owners deliberately manufacturing thermometers that gave wrong readings, in order to ensure that the disease spread far and wide in countries that had dared to call off their bluff. I remember this particularly in reference to a bunch of thermometers sold by China to the USA.

A lot of countries raced to recall such equipment – masks, thermometers etc from their populace, in order to prevent further acceleration in the spread of the disease.

As if this was not enough, now came the reports of racial profiling and consequent attacks on African citizens in China, blaming them for the disease. A tonne of such videos went viral.

Bottomline: China has well and truly gone about accumulating a lot of bad karma from everyone, right from governments of the world to the average citizens on the streets.

This is bound to come back to bite them, once the dust settles.

They know it too.

And are rattled.

With good reason.

Because they can already see it starting to happen. There is ever growing talk of moving manufacturing out of China. But this talk this time is different from similar talks a few months earlier. Where earlier, in the early days of the pandemic, people were only concerned with creating redundancies in case of a similar disruption in future, this time they are pursuing it with far more vigour due to pure disgust with the way China has mishandled the entire thing.

On that note, I’ll just leave this tweet here to underline what I mean.

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In their hubris of appearing squeaky clean, the Chinese have only damaged themselves more.

The repercussions are already manifesting slowly. Japan has announced monetary incentive for its companies to relocate from China. Other countries too, are already doing the same.

Not just content with moving their businesses out, there are countries who are already seeing calls to re-evaluate their very relationship with China once the immediate danger has passed. How these things pan out in future will be an interesting thing to watch.

Here is what I foresee.

China WILL lash out before letting any such thing happen.

We have already seen them try to take advantage of this situation economically, as well as geopolitically because right now they are in a relatively better position than the rest of the world.

On the economic front, they are out to make a killing in terms of prices of APIs that are immensely critical in pharma manufacturing, to outrightly going and buying major stakes in companies all over the world.

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On the strategic front, their activities in the South China Sea have increased manifold, including the sinking of a Vietnamese boat a few weeks ago. This particular event might have been triggered by the knowledge that the US naval presence too was stressed by the virus outbreak.

But .. and this is a big question .. what happens when the rest of the world gets its act together?

A LOT of manufacturing will have moved out, including that of the APIs on which China had created a virtual monopoly. Chinese investment is already being subjected to immense scrutiny and in some cases, a blanket rejection in order to prevent predatory takeovers of key industries by many countries.

Jumping a few months ahead, it is safe to say that the Chinese economy will be amongst the MOST affected ones, globally, with immense contraction coming their way. Remember, this pandemic will only accelerate the process already put into motion by the recent US-China trade war.

On the strategic front, once the world recovers, it will make good efforts to recover the ground it has had to cede to the Middle Kingdom. It may not be a far fetched theory if one says this time round there might actually be a shooting war, even if localized, in the South China Sea, esp once the US Navy moves back in. Heck, things are already being put into motion even as I type this.

navroop

Now just imagine in case Shri Donald Trump wins the upcoming election in the US, what might be prioritize, esp after publicly calling out China as the origin of the virus and about their predatory moves in the midst of the pandemic.

Let me add that his chances of a victory seem even greater now even if for one single reason that his opponent is not getting even 1% of the airtime that he is getting as he leads his country in the fight against the pandemic. Feel free to disagree on this, but I stand by it.

Then there is the Middle East. Given that they and OPEC were already stressed financially due to Russia, I for one would NOT want to be in their shoes at this point in time, given the way oil prices are crashing! The welfare states that they created will soon come crumbling down. Call it Karma for all the evils that the export of toxic ideology from their lands brought to the world, but what was in any case being foreseen as their future about two decades hence, seems to have been advanced by atleast a decade, if not more.

As regards Russia, I’ll say that in the long run they will see off this pandemic relatively better than many, in terms of economics as well as strategically, esp when the realignment of geopolitical and geo-economic alliances takes place. Mark my words.

Coming on to the EU, it was an artificial construct in the first place (my personal opinion. Feel free to disagree) and was already in some stress. What this pandemic has done is to stress it further, coming as it does, bang in the middle of Brexit! Who would have imagined even a few weeks ago that the famed free borders of EU would still NOT stop countries from seizing relief material / medical supplies meant for fellow EU countries, for use by themselves? But it happened! Germany did it. As did Turkey, for that matter (LINK).

The EU will see internal differences get magnified in the medium term. Whether or not it survives in its current form is anyone’s guess, but I personally feel it will change demonstrably.

Now about India.

I see this pandemic and its aftermath as an opportunity which, if exploited tactfully, will help improve her geopolitical standing as well as economy. As it is, India is stated to be perhaps the ONLY major world economy which will post a positive GDP growth for this financial year, even if it is less than 1.5 percent. Remember, this, when China and the US will CONTRACT by more than 5% each.

Dare I say, with a LOT of manufacturing due to move out of China, if played right, India will gain much more of this than South-East Asia. Let’s wait and watch how it goes.

But what I am more interested in seeing is how the geopolitical environment changes in India’s case.

The biggest factor in this, IMO, is a China that is not only majorly weakened economically / geopolitically, but also facing AWAY from India, as it grapples with the US and rest of the Western world.

With Chinese economy contracting and thereafter growing slower than what has been the norm, it WILL mellow them down across the Himalayan borders, atleast in the short term.

This is partly due to the increased focus of West on China, as also due to the fact that India has so far played a very benign role as compared to the rest of the world when it comes to calling out China for its role in creating this entire mess.

Call it a masterstroke, or call it naivete on part of India, but fact remains that China doesn’t have much to complain about as far as the Govt of India goes. Heck, the GOI even ordered PPEs and other such equipment from China. That a bulk of it was found to be faulty did not come as a surprise. But even if unintended, it further weakens China’s case against castigating India!

smita prakash

Coming on to the other end of our borders, to Pakistan, well no one knows how they are coping, except the celebrations that are currently underway at getting a six odd month or so worth of waiver at repaying their loans as well as some fresh loans to ‘fight’ the pandemic.

Pakistan went from begging India for help (remember the Shahid Afridi / Shoaib Akhtar episodes?) to showing their true colours when they realized that no free monies from India were going to come their way.

After waiting for a few days to see if a few crumbs get thrown their way, the Pakistani President and the Prime Minister came back to their usual rants about Kashmir and Modi and India.

Then there is the Pakistan Army – fighting the pandemic in their own way – by sending in more terrorists our way from across the LoC. Not just that, in ‘anticipation’ of the upcoming FATF review in June, they have even taken off nearly 50% of the names from their own terror watch list!(LINK)

Talk about making hay when the world isn’t watching!

However, the situation out there needs to be monitored in great detail, because they themselves have no idea as to what their own state of exposure to the virus is. One can imagine the social unrest that comes their way in case the virus indeed goes viral out there.

And given the way that the Govt of Pakistan is (NOT) dealing with it, there is a very good chance of this actually happening. What happens there in case it does happen?

Well, one thing that surely comes to mind is a full blown refugee crisis on our borders.

In fact, this is something that I feel even the Brown Panted Ones in Rawalpindi must be gaming, if not done already.

Now the question is, how does someone deal with such a situation? We’ve already seen a sample at the Greek-Turkey border recently (Once again, EU Unity, anyone?)

In our case, however, we will most definitely have the usual suspects crying themselves hoarse over the ‘inhuman’ Govt of India and give it a communal colour, in case such ‘refugees’ are stopped at our borders.

So what is the answer then?

Do we create refugee camps ACROSS their borders?

Food for thought, no?

I’ll not delve much on that for the time being, though.

What I am looking at, is the fact that a weak China and a Pakistan virtually on the brink of default with a Saudi Arabia / UAE etc UNABLE to park free and surplus dollars into their banks to ‘shore’ their finances. Top it up with drastically reduced remittance from their workforce in the middle east as they themselves stare at empty coffers and you will get my drift.

Then their is their ‘all weather’ ally, China, who is itself going to be ‘under the weather’ for a long time, and the situation isn’t exactly worth the celebrations that they are having at the mere deference of loan repayments.

A Pakistan in this state is vulnerable as well as dangerous. Herein lies a challenge as well as an opportunity for India. Once again, I’ll leave the rest to your imagination, without delving much into it at this moment.

What I am getting at is that once the immediate danger is past, India will see a lot of (relatively) weakened states in near and far neighbourhood – right from China to Saudi Arabia. It is going to be a tricky tightrope that we will need to walk in order to maximize gains and minimize losses.

Chanakya’s Raj Mandal Theory comes to mind. Do google it in case not aware.

THIS is the time to put it to good use.

THIS is the time, it WILL manifest itself even if we don’t make many efforts to that end.

The future I foresee is one of great turbulence, lasting for atleast half a decade. This turbulence may not always translate into a protracted shooting war, but it most definitely will see localized military engagements.

This turbulence will also see the global economy as we know it, turn on its head. It will see a near and far neighbourhood – both regional and global – that will test the limits of our own diplomatic, military as well as economic heft.

We have absolutely no option but to be prepared for it.

Before this new decade is over, one wouldn’t be surprised to see the realignment of more than just a few borders the world over, own neighbourhood included.

At the cost of repetition, I’ll once again say that India is one of the few countries that stand to gain much.

Of course, it will mean short term pain as well. But that is any day preferable to long term pain, just as a few weeks of lockdown is preferable to a pandemic running wild in our societies.

The best part about this future is that we don’t have an option to avoid it!

It is best that we prepare ourselves for what it to come – the pain, as well as the goodies. Dare I say, I already see a few steps being taken in that direction. All I hope is to see the momentum build up further and then sustain over a long term.

The 5 Trillion dollar economy may come in 2027 instead of 2025, but come it will. And it will be a much more matured economy than what we have today, if we play it well.

The neighbourhood too, that has been in the grip of the ‘String of Pearls’, will soon see the hollowness of the Chinese model and at worst, become neutral once again.

Thanks for bearing with me over this long blog post. I end it with a silent prayer for all those who’ve died in this pandemic.

As far as China goes, let me just add this tweet to from seven years ago to this blog:

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And this one as well:

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