Chinese Threats and India’s Bits

WH May 2011 (101)

India’s  tackling of the Chinese threats are in tits and bits. Like handling the Chinese fishing nets in Cochin, strategy spin masters of our national security are totally callous. From Sri Lanka to Somalia, from Pakistan to Peru, Chinese are stitching an international network against India. They know well that India is a big challenger to Chinese supremacy in the coming days.

For India it is not enough knowing what the Chinese are up against it. But checkmating their moves and eliminating the collaborations in the early stage will steady India’s growth.

If India fails to wake up to the growing Chinese interests around the world, it will have to pay heavily in the future. This is a very delicate issue to be managed. Pushing overt action against the Chinese and its new friends will permanently damage India’s growth. For instance, over drive of relationship with USA will put India against Russia – the longest ally. Quickly they will turn to China. Imagine the situation where Russia, North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Gulf countries, African nations in the Chinese kitty!

Time for real strategies and realisation of those strategies in quick time.

Nayan Chanda writes in The Times of India.
The Silk Road, a romantic name that evokes images of camel caravans laden with luxuries wending their way through picturesque mountains and steppes, is back in the news. In its latest avatar, the Silk Road is a Chinese strategic initiative comprising an infrastructure bank and a slew of road, high-speed rail, pipelines, ports and fibre-optic cables projects. Recently unveiled by President Xi Jinping, its ambition is to tie Central Asia and Europe with the Silk Road Economic Belt and expand its trade and strategic reach in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean all the way to East Africa with the help of Maritime Silk Road.
If the Chinese vision is realised it could transform the country’s relationship with its neighbours giving it an unassailable position in all of Asia including the Indian Ocean. Surprisingly India has signed up to be a co-founder of the infrastructure bank to fund the project. Before jumping on the ‘New’ Silk Road caravan, India would do well to examine where it is headed.
Despite the comfortingly familiar old name, what China is seeking to achieve with its 21st century version bears no resemblance to the historic connector. Some two millennia ago, road networks were used by foreign traders to buy items like silk, precious stones and sell Buddhist icons and paraphernalia to China. A subsequent seaborne trade route (dubbed the ‘Maritime Silk Road’) came to be the dominant connection between southern China and the Mediterranean, with a network of Southeast Asian and Indian ports in between.
Remarkably, while China supplied the goods, it was Central Asian traders, as well as Arabs, Persians, Indians and Malays, who played the central role in the old Silk Road. In the New Silk Road of Xi Jinping’s imagination, China will not only sell its domestically produced cornucopia but will also create pathways to move goods and even manufacture them in partner countries. Instead of the world coming to China as in the past, China will now be going out to the world, building naval and resupply facilities along the ocean route. Although strategic aspect of the proactive policy is never mentioned Chinese scholars in Beijing privately explained that the New Silk Road is China’s response to what it views as US-led encirclement effort through its ‘Asia pivot’ and Trans-Pacific Partnership project.
The proposed $40 billion Silk Road Fund will finance construction of railroads, pipelines and roadways that will link China with three continents over land and sea. A proposed canal across the Isthmus of Kra in Thailand could provide a faster link between South China Sea and Indian Ocean. A state-owned Chinese company is building a deep-water container port and industrial park in Malaysia. China has already taken over from India a $500-million airport development in Maldives, considered an integral part of the Maritime Silk Road. President Xi recently inaugurated one of the most ambitious of China’s recent projects — $1.4 billion Colombo port city.
Economic factors behind China’s plans for ambitious opening to the world are easy to understand. With its greying population making labour expensive and adding to social welfare costs, and with lacklustre demand from western markets, China’s economic growth has plateaued. Closer integration with regional neighbours would dramatically expand the mainland’s potential market for goods and services. Meanwhile, relocating China’s old, polluting and labour-intensive industries to neighbouring countries would allow it to invest its mounting dollar reserves in alternative energies and meet its emissions reduction targets.
Unmentioned in the Silk Road projects, but seemingly an integral part of the outward push, is setting up facilities for China’s power projection: a reported special transmission centre in southern Balochistan to communicate with submerged submarines; an aircraft maintenance facility near Chinese-aided Hambantota port in Sri Lanka. The recent appearance of Chinese submarines in Sri Lanka gave a peek into the steel that lies under the so-called Maritime Silk Road.
While promoting the New Silk Road China has not said what the rules of the road it envisages are. Given China’s refusal to accept the UN Convention on Law of the Sea to define its territorial claims in South China Sea, the maritime passages would likely be governed by Chinese law. One can expect the Chinese navy to take over responsibility for protecting the new maritime Silk Road, as the Mongol army did for the Central Asian Silk Road in the 14th century. China’s latest project is unlikely to be as smooth as its name might suggest.

Act now or regret later,Mr.P.M Modi!


Dear Prime Minister Modi Saheb,

Even your enemies admire your vision, talk, hard work, punctuality and body language. But your Parivar members are spoiling all your good name by going against your vision. On the one side, you are talking about inclusive growth with total dynamism. On the other side, RSS, VHP, Bajarang Dal, Rama Sena, ABVP and other organisations of your ideology are propagating exclusive growth for Hindus. Is this possible? It is high time that you control these troublemakers and ensure a peaceful India. It is not the question of talent here. The Prime Ministership is all about right action at the right time.

Those who are extremely capable but failed to act were forgotten even by the history. Remember, the Godhra violence one and half decades ago. You may not be directly involved. But you were made an untouchable by the entire world for such a long period because of your failure to act against the perpetrators of a huge crime against the humanity. Whether Hindu or Muslim, punish them for crime. Never segregate criminals on the basis of race or religion or caste or gender. Immediate punishment is the only solution for persistent problems like communal violence. If you do your duty neutrally you are bound win election after election.

This is not only your problem. Remember, Dr.Manmohan Singh your predecessor? He is the most educated and experienced politician turned bureaucrat. Because of his failure to check corruption and act against those criminals costed his reputation and his party the vast power to rule India.

If you want to settle permanently in the hearts and minds of Indians, you must act now. Act against those who violate the constitution, rules, regulations and laws of the land. Remember the advice given by Lord.Krishna to Arjuna!

Sagarika Ghosh writes in The Times of India on 10 December 2014

After the assertion that astrology makes a pygmy of other sciences, that khap panchayats protect us against social evils, we now have the suggestion that the Bhagwad Gita must be recognised as the ‘rashtriya granth’ or National Scripture. To transform the Gita into a statist government textbook when its mysteries or rahasyas have enthralled every individual in richly varied ways is an injustice to its philosophy.

If the government indeed needs a National Book, why not the Constitution which in its progressive ideals should be the blueprint for a modern India? Yet BJP, in its aggressive defence of Sanskrit, Vedic science, palmistry, astrology and the authenticity of the epics, seems set on a collision course with modernity itself.

BJP has a problem with the modern. While the PM promises a globalised future, the HRD minister attempts to banish the teaching of German and impose Sanskrit. While the PM announces Make in India, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch says it prefers ‘Made by Indians’. During polls BJP reached out to the youth voter, but now Sangh outfits are the main moral policemen on youth, opposing love and kissing as anti ‘Indian culture’. This Sanskrit imposing, khap panchayat upholding mindset runs counter to the thumping youthful mandate for a forward-looking India.

ICHR head Y S Rao says we need to accept the epics as ‘true’ accounts to roll back the evil influence of Leftist Macaulayputras who saw them as myths. Should 21st century scholars try to prove the Mahabharata really happened? Or should they instead dignify the Ramayana and Mahabharata (which 70s’ Leftists failed to do) by modern interpretation?

Sanskrit in its time was a language of prestige and excellence. As a tribute to Sanskrit why not encourage linguistic excellence in modern global languages instead of trying to resurrect the Gupta Age by government diktat? Imposing Sanskrit on one hand and winning elections through the verbal violence of Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti on the other, hardly bolsters the cause of linguistic excellence among youth.

Narendra Modi’s indebtedness to the Sangh for the victory of 2014 is clear: intensive Sangh mobilisation made possible the massive win. No wonder Modi is perhaps bound to let the Sangh have its say on education and society. But has not RSS, having made Modi the figurehead of its triumphal car, not willy nilly, also accepted the need for its own personal transformation? If you anoint an individual who stands for business-friendly economics, how can you oppose free market reforms? If you anoint a youth idol, how can you crack down on kissing?

The task of a modern reform-oriented government is to strengthen institutions so that rule of law and transparency is established. Keeping investors and markets in suspense on what the PM will say in one speech after another is rather old-fashioned strategy. The policy-announcements-by-speeches tactic is a reflection of the tightrope that Modi walks on where to draw the line with the Sangh.

The Sangh view of modernity is needlessly jaundiced. Modernity need not mean only half-naked licentious youth, Leftist history and MNC-dominated economy. Every woman BJP member who is not a sadhvi today drips sindoor and mangalsutra as if battle-ready to fight globalisation. Yet the T-shirt clad wrestler champions, the Fogat sisters from rural Haryana probably keep alive the boldly modernist spirit of the Upanishadic Gargi more than the heavily veiled sati savitris who only uphold Victorian morality in Indian costume.

When even the Vatican is re-examining its teachings on gay marriage, why does the BJP-Sangh see tradition as fixed in stone? A new mandate deserves a new rethink. It’s time the BJP-Sangh, which now politically leads the country, also led the country in a comprehensive social and intellectual rethink. Vatican II was the Catholic Church’s collective introspection on how to deal with the modern age. The Sangh needs a Hindu Vatican II.

BJP as a right-wing party must fashion a modern conservatism based on thought through positions on the economy, modern education, gender justice, inter-religious marriage, youth morality and Hindu-Muslim relations. The social agenda is too important to leave to loonies who attack lovers, modern women and Muslims as part of a so-called ‘traditional’ mission.

Conquering the communal demon is central to BJP achieving modernity. As long as Sadhvi Jyoti remains a vote catcher BJP cannot achieve a modernist image. Indeed Modi’s central dilemma at the moment is where to draw the line between the Sangh worldview and a modern political BJP. A modern BJP should locate its right-wing identity in economics, not in religion.

Whether it likes it or not, the BJP-Sangh now needs to embrace a more substantive modernity beyond the smartphone-Vedic science combination. Modi won because he answered a cry for change and must balance the pulls of the Sangh by enlivening tradition with bumper doses of modernity. Don’t see Sans-krit as frozen Vedic glory; instead imbibe its spirit of excellence. Don’t get lost in proving the ‘trueness’ of the Mahabha-rata, instead as a tribute to it, throw open the world of books instead of thought poli-cing and book burning on campus. Don’t defend astrology as the best science, instead ensure every child has access to quality teaching, so modern India can replicate the golden era of mathematics.

Do the ancients a favour by imbibing their readiness to change and innovate, don’t destroy them by making them enemies of progress.