The more one hears of things happening in the Modi government the more dispirited one gets. After his meeting with Obama, who frowned upon the destabilizing aspects of India’s Brahmos supersonic cruise missile transfer to Vietnam, the prime minister, per sources has instructed MOD to slow down the process of delivering this indefensible missile to Hanoi. The fact that he didn’t outright cancel the deal is a consolation — however small. Modi’s pandering to the US has been mentioned by me in a recent past, but this is ridiculous. Instead of making life as difficult for China, GOI seems to be easing off on the pressure and that too on Washington’s say-so. The problem here is that Obama and Xi Jinping have for some time now been pussyfooting around the possibility of a two power concert running the world. Instead of doing every thing possible to undermine it — Modi thinks India’s greater good lies in being party to this arrangement. Nothing will more definitely shrink, in a practical sense, India’s strategic space and hinder its great power ambitions than being reduced to a cog in the mighty US-China machine. And yet this is the path Modi seems to have embarked on. This despite the most predictively obvious outcome of a Brahmos-armed Vietnam — of detering the powerful Chinese South Sea Fleet warships from even venturing outside its secure breakwater bases at Sanya on Hainan Island. No better antidote/counter can be conceived for the Chinese dreams of a “string of pearls” in the Indian Ocean basin. Now India stands to have Vietnam’s trust and confidence in Delhi erode. It remains to be seen if Hanoi will respond positively to China’s invitation to ASEAN navies to join PLAN in exercises in the disputed South China Sea waters, as a means of defusing the situation there. If Vietnam does accept Beijing’s gambit, it’ll be the first indication of its making peace with China on Chinese terms — a hideous consequence of India’s lily-livered strategic approach. India’s position is in no way recouped by its agreeing to having Japan join in the annual Malabar naval exercise with the US Navy. Meanwhile, the US is increasing its own political-military leverage in Hanoi by arming Vietnam, even if with less lethal armaments, the aim being to get Vietnam to rely on the US as security anchor while winning brownie points from Beijing for restraining Delhi from helping Vietnamese full-tilt.
The still more devastating irony to digest is that the Bharatiya Janata Party, which flashes its “nationalist” credentials, has been most responsible for rendering India vulnerable to Western depradations. Recall that it was the Vajpayee regime that stopped the open-ended nuclear testing with announcement of the “voluntary moratorium” in 1998 and followed it up, under Washington’s pressure, to scale back the country missile capabilities by diverting the effort of the Advanced Systems Laboratory, Hyderabad, from its ICBM development by insisting on prior development and fielding of the 700 km Agni-1 SRBM, when all Pakistani targets could be engaged with Prithvi missiles or firing the Agni 2 missiles at depressed trajectories. Manmohan Singh Congress regime only followed up with the absolutely destructive nuclear deal that has all but finished off India’s thermonuclear aspirations and, simultaneously,decapitated Bhabha’s 3-stage plan for energy self-sufficiency (natural uranium fueled reactors in the 1st stage, breeder reactors in the 2nd stage and thorium-fueled reactors in the 3rd stage) by siphoning off funds from the breeder and thorium reactor programmes to buying inordinately expensive imported reactors run on imported enriched uranium fuel. The opening for such denouement was provided by the BJP govt preparing the ground with the NSSP (Next Steps in the Strategic Partnership).