Diplomatic mishap at NSG Seoul

It was an astounding misread of the international political situation for the BJP government to believe that just having Prime Minister Narendra Modi do rounds of his now trademark personalized diplomacy would get India a ticket into the Nuclear Suppliers Group at its two-day plenary in Seoul. It is one thing for Modi to be convinced about his own persuasive powers. Quite another thing for the Ministry of External Affairs mandarins, with Foreign Secretary K. Jaishankar in the lead, to go along with the PM’s conceit without alerting Modi to the near insurmountable barriers in place visible to any level-headed analyst and made perfectly plain by Beijing’s repeated negative pronouncements.

Did Modi really think that a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Tashkent and Jaishankar’s attempts at changing the minds of the other holdout states — Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland, Brazil, and Turkey, would prove anything but futile? Two days back Sartaj Aziz, PM Nawaz Sharif’s foreign policy adviser, had telegraphed this with his statement that Pakistan had succeeded in firming up the opposition to India’s NSG membership. As usual, he was taking more credit than was due his diplomatic efforts. The problem was/is with the different reasons for their holdout by the six countries. Let’s see what these are and decide whether India’s chances will brighten with time.

China WILL NOT budge until India begins seriously to strategically discomfit it with counter-leverage and counter-pressure. Such leverage/pressure has come its way with India formally becoming a participating state in the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime). China has been seeking an entry into MTCR since 2004. New Delhi can hereafter veto China’s membership in MTCR, and should do so. Secondly, it should fast-track the sale/transfer of the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile not just to Vietnam that has desperately desired it for years, but also the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei the states disputing China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea. MTCR membership means that India’s Brahmos transactions with these states and any other country that has any problems with Beijing and wishing to acquire this deadly and indefensible missile, are instantly legitimated, and will not draw sanctions for either India, the supplier, or any of its customer states.

And then India should resist all initiatives for an exchange Beijing may propose — its lifting NSG veto for India’s doing the same in MTCR. Because the fact is NSG is not all that important for India considering it has already secured a waiver in 2008 as part of the nuclear deal and can engage in nuclear commerce and trade without let or hindrance. As to why MEA is set on NSG entry and has pushed Modi into making such a big deal of it, resulting in the PM getting a whole lot of egg on his face is a mystery. A well-connected commentator attributes this entire diplomatic mishap to the “devious” view of many in the MEA that pushing Modi into canvassing China, would up the stakes and Beijing’s formally resisting India’s NSG membership will confirm its status as an adversary country and justify to the domestic audience the government’s policy of siding with the United States to contain it in Asia.

But such an undiscriminating slide towards the US will actually lose New Delhi leverage with Washington. The more India holds back and joins the US only sporadically — so the US govt does not take India for granted as it is inclined to do, the better it will be in terms of serving and furthering the national interest in the long run. Moreover, the more agilely New Delhi manipulates its security cooperation with dibs and dabs of military-to-military linkages with the US, the more Beijing will feel impelled to accommodate India as a means of preempting/preventing New Delhi’s going over more fully to America’s corner. That’s how the game of great power politics is played, and was so done by Nehru in the Fifties. But since then and especially in the new Century MEA seems to have lost that ability abetted in recent years by Modi’s personal West-leaning preferences.

As regards Brazil — envy and jealousy are very much part of its stance towards India. Brasilia did not have the wit or the strategic wisdom to not sign the 1968 Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and hence its passage to weapons status has been for ever barred. Now it confronts India as a nuclear weapon state, and cannot stomach it considering its nuclear programme too is pretty advanced. As regards Ireland, Austria and New Zealand, the Indian govt had obviously hoped they would take their cues from the US and fall in line at the Seoul plenary. That has not occurred because they feel unwooed and therefore unmoved. Switzerland got the full treatment with the Permanent Mission in Geneva at the cutting edge (not the embassy in Berne) and yet the Swiss did not follow through on promised support. Its position at Seoul that it still had to liaise with Berne hints at second thoughts or cussedness. In any case, it reveals, as does Modi’s confabulatory procedure with Xi, the limits of personalized diplomacy.

Then there’s Turkey and India has hit a brick wall. Like China, it has hyphenated India and Pakistan and has opted for joint entry into NSG. And, by the way, it will not relent even if China ever does.

Considering all the factors laid out above, can anyone make a convincing case that India needs to expend an additional iota of diplomatic-political capital on trying to get into NSG? The answer is a resounding NO. But Modi and MEA seem bent on it. Figuring that out will tell you just why India is where it is and points to the Indian government’s lack of understanding of what hard power is and how it works. It is not a coincidence that some 52 years after India reached the nuclear weapons threshold in Feb/March 1964 but decided deliberately not to speedily acquire a nuclear arsenal, New Delhi still thinks its abstemiousness in not proliferating indigenously developed nuclear materials, expertise, should win India rewards!!!

That’s not what the harsh world of international relations is about, I am afraid. One had hoped that with Modi’s advent there would be an injection of realism in our foreign policy approach and attitude. That hasn’t happened. Instead, Modi seems to have fallen in — as he has done elsewhere in government by relying on civil servants, with the old MEA way of doing things: Depending, in the sadly famous words uttered by a character in Tennessee Williams’ play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire”, the needy Blanche Du Bois — “on the kindness of strangers”. Except, in the external realm, all countries are strangers and never kind.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
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36 Responses to Diplomatic mishap at NSG Seoul

  1. Atul says:

    Never agreed more with you !!!! Word by word agreement.

  2. Liberate first Tibet, Aksai Chin then Taiwan then Hong Kong. Two can play Arunachal card.

  3. India will beg USA, China Ghana till 2100 for tidbits! How little Philippines stand up to China.

  4. S3 says:

    On a related note, at least one Russian commentator seems to disagree with Mr Karnad’s assessment of Modi’s US visit. Knowing India’s government, I can’t put too much faith in Mr Mercouris’ analysis. But what does Mr. Karnad think?


    • Mercouris gives too much credit for a nimble and inventive Indian foreign policy that has its true bearings. This may be because of distance. Those closer to the policy ground in New Delhi know better.

  5. p1945 says:

    Good analyses,mr.karnard. PM has developed typical indian thought process-over dependency .international interest and relations is a ruthless world. this has escaped his attention.


  6. Siddappa says:

    “Doing things, on the kindness of strangers”. You’ve nailed it perfectly.
    We need US & the world to declare Pak as terrorist State.
    We need US & the world to fight against terrorism.
    We won’t do anything.

  7. MS says:

    Why am I reading this here and not in the popular national newspapers? Are we a nation of the weak that we need to fill the papers with self praise in a stupid manner and hope the nice talk between leaders will yield results. We are lucky that we are again at the threshold of becoming a strong economy.

    You had predicted the outcome in the last para of your column a few days ago for the daft. What has India got it in the bag for China, Europe and others? And if India signs those foundational agreements, what move our other friend will make on the chess board.

    Since there is hardly anybody writing what you are, people of the country must read what you have written here. A country does not become courageous to stand up against US just like that, China is a powerful country in military and economic terms. Can we not become that please!

    Immportantly you have anwered that nothing stops us from becoming a great power even if we do not get into NSG. You have also delineated how to do the dance with America-close and separate and close again and go a few steps away again.

    I trust you will understand which country I meant by ‘our friend’.

    • Open Letter to Prime Minister 2002
      America is our friend in need, Eg. 1962 and 1994. But we need 15, 000-km range missiles for an altogether different matter. Chinese terrorists in US may present India with a Day Before Midnight Stephen Hunter nightmare. Tin pot dictators may rise in the Americas with ICBMs and hostility to India. In Total War 2006 (Non Fiction), USA destroy Israeli second strike capability. Their ally!
      Dictatorships pooh poohed our liberal policy. But we got the last laugh. Ignoring our domestic hypocrites’ sermons, we imported western culture. Yes. But in due course, we export Indian culture around the world. In the global stage, everything is two-way. Had we closed our doors to the west like dictatorships, we too would have remained an unknown culture.
      Thanks to our progressive, liberal leadership and our western pals, Indian fashion, films, music and society is popular in all continents. See ‘Fusion’ – 1999. Compare this with China. Except overseas Chinese, who need Chinese propaganda.
      Many experts say cheap rupee will make India paradise. No no! cheap Asian countries have cheaper currencies. Let us make rupee powerful. Then everything will fall into place. With weak rupee we will remain cheap and struggling. Can’t we make high profile Indian versions of BMW, Play Boy, Grundig, Lear Jet and Rollce Royce?
      Yes, we can. Deepak Kanegaonkar successfully sell his high profile Urvashi perfume in high end French shops. He is an unacknowledged ambassador to ‘Made in India? Label. Faud Lokhandwala’s seventeen fancy toilets in Delhi give western cities a run for their money. We should write many such success stories in India. India certainly come very far.
      Indian media often place India’s plus points on page six and exaggerate riots, disasters, terrorism, scams, crooks, scandals and mega crimes on page one.
      In contrast, National Geographic did many fair, balanced cover stories on India. I sent my ‘India: The Other side’ and ‘Democratic Edge’ to many influential Westerners.

  8. Satvinder Singh says:

    Dr Karnad couldn’t have agreed with you more. Still can’t resist to say that for all its worts MEA will always be overtly cautious in taking any offensive step via a vis China. The reasons for Naga insurgency isn’t lost to its institutional memory. Sadly the whole episode clearly shows the limits of Soft power in the game of power play. Capabilities matter and intentions can always change. Elementary for Watson, not sure about the Babu’s and Neta’s.

  9. Open letter to Prime Minister 2002
    India is more liberal than USA. American liberalism often stop by their borders. Will America tolerate a Cuban sponsored attack on their Capitol Hill as India did on December 13? I doubt it. To American’s credit, there weren’t widespread slaughter of innocents after 9/11 as India witnessed in 1984 and 2002. But America has her 1992 Los Angeles race riots. Against our three-year long Emergency, America has Edgar Hoover’s three-decade long dictatorship. America bring high profile Sikh killer to speedy trial.
    After the 9/11 terrorist strike, Americans mostly ignored our unconditional support and goodwill. Cunning Pak General played his cards shrewdly. I have another suggestion. Smaller democracies, Australia, Italy and Holland are facing international terror. We should lend them security experts. They will be grateful. Also India’s clout and global stature will raise.
    Many Indian defense specialists are worried about opening of prestigious Jungle Warfare Training School, Mizoram and High Altitude warfare Training School, Kashmir, to Americans. As they used ‘China Card’ against the USSR for two decades (1971-91), America now want to use “India Card” to contain China.

  10. SANKET says:

    What I cannot understand is why China,a lonely power, albeit a great one, with no real friends in its maritime periphery and disputes with a number of its neighbors is hell bent on confrontation with India? If collision is what China wants then we should give it to them. Time to teach the dragon a lesson?

  11. andy says:

    Whatever Mr.Karnad had prophesied about Indias entry into the NSG has happened

    If it wasn’t so trajic it would be laughable, how China is insisting on India signing the NPT before being allowed into the NSG.The two rouges of the world, Pakistan & North Korea owe their complete nuclear weapons program to Chinese help,if China hadn’t proliferated nuclear tech to both these so called nations,they would never have successfully made nuclear weapons.

    So what are India’s options now that Beijing is openly opposing Indian aspirations in international fora like the UN & now the NSG?The strategy has to be two pronged, a combination of hard power & economic repercussions.Transferring the Brahmos missile to various countries around the south China Sea periphery as suggested by BK is a good start.Announcing & expeditiously raising a second mountain strike corp,armed with Agni series nuclear tipped missiles, for the western sector of the LAC would be a welcome step in reducing the conventional imbalance along the LAC.Stepping up support for the anti chinese insurgents in Tibet & Xinjiang in China would keep the Chinese occupiers permanently imbalanced in these restive provinces,India should also officially derecognise chinas occupation of Tibet.

    Another step that would really hurt china & its proxy pakistan would be massive economic and military aid transfer to the freedom fighters in Balochistan in Pakistan ,who are waging a heroic battle against their occupation by the Pakistanis since 1948, such aid should be in return for the complete disruption of the $46 billion CPEC projects being being built by China from Gwadar on the Arabian Sea through POK in the North to China.

    India should also take up the offer of developing an Indian naval base at Nha Trang in Vietnam.Covertly funding and transferring nuclear weapons technology to Vietnam would also be a long term investment by India in having a permanent thorn in Chinas side..Sending in a carrier battle group into the south China Sea on freedom of navigation patrols could be immediately accomplished.Taking up a few more oil blocks for exploration off the Vietnamese coast, inspite of Chinese reservations ,would be big poke in their eyeballs by India.

    On the economic front immediately imposing anti dumping duties on cheap Chinese imports to India, to make their price on par with Indian goods, would not only address the humongous trade imbalance of more than $50 billion tilted in China’s favour,but would also be wake up call for their mandarins to not needle India in future.

    Even if a few of the above recommended steps are implemented they would go a long way in making China do a rethink of its India policies. The moot point is,who in the Indian establishment is going to muster up the courage to stare China down,even as China walks all over india.

    • S3 says:

      Will people please stop acting like the sky is falling. It was never a good idea to join the NSG in the first place, as Mr. Karnad has been repeatedly saying, so it looks like the Chinese have done us a favour.

      The freedom of navigation issue is bullshit:

      And America has not fought another great power in 70 years:

      So my guess is they are just trying to scare everybody into buying their weapon systems.

      Indian military bases in Vietnam are one thing. Nuclear weapons are another. If the Vietnamese were as crazy as Pakistan, they would be a good attack dog. They are not.

      China’s reasons for making trouble for themselves abroad have to do with internal politics:

      I am not as sanguine as Bilahari Kausikan (author of two previous links) though. The whole global economy is due for a recession, a massive one. It is probably going to start in China before the year 2020:

      In such a scenario, starting a war would be the Chinese Communist Party’s way of shoring up legitimacy by appealing to Chinese nationalism.

      On Balochistan: One man’s freedom fighter is ten years later the same man’s terrorist. I have been told that what Pakistan is doing there is worse than any other contemporary conflict (except maybe the Columbian drug wars). But helping them might be a bad idea anyway.

      On India-China relations: Has anybody asked the Prime Minister that if India does yoga, and China does kung-fu, who does the world respect more?

      • andy says:

        So the idea seems to be for India to keep behaving in the same pusillanimous manner vis a vis China as it has done since the humiliation of the 1962 war & also to turn the other cheek in an attempt at China appeasement ,which has been India’s policy towards China thus far yielding little or no strategic value for its worth.

        Rather than getting into an argument ,a few lines written by Ashok Malik,distinguished fellow Observer Research Foundation in today’s Times of India at the end of a detailed article listing out the various happenings at the NSG plenary at Seoul ‘THE REAL SEOUL STORY’ ……..’Its down to a shoot out between New Delhi and Beijing, China is behaving not as an enlightened power but as a strategic small timer,with the petty,perfidious and short termist mindset of a Pyongyang dictator or a Rawalpindi general. India is honour-bound to send it a tough message. There is no option’.

        The editorial in the same newspaper today said…’New Delhi must not hesitate to look the gathering evidence in the eye.China is not really interested in doing business with India ,but would rather place all its South Asian eggs in the Pakistan basket.That calls for a recalibration of New Delhi’s diplomacy and a rethink on its China strategy.If Beijing is playing power games,then India must respond with some of its own’.
        First it must reconsider it’s cooperation with China in other international fora like climate change and WTO where they have both often acted in unison.Second,it should take a harder line on the south China Sea issue.Third,India should strengthen it’s links with Taiwan(with which ,after all China itself does a lot of business).Fourth and most importantly, Delhi must reconsider it’s trade relationship with Beijing.China is one of India’s largest trade partners,with bilateral trade worth $70 billion in 2015.With trade balances favouring China enormously, India doesn’t have much to loose from a possible trade war.It’s important not to over-react ,but equally India needs to creatively use all the options in its toolkit’……….This from a news paper which is pretty dovish in its outlook.

      • S3 says:


        You present some interesting quotes. But predictable ones. This is what Mr. Karnad wrote, in this very article:

        “A well-connected commentator attributes this entire diplomatic mishap to the “devious” view of many in the MEA that pushing Modi into canvassing China, would up the stakes and Beijing’s formally resisting India’s NSG membership will confirm its status as an adversary country and justify to the domestic audience the government’s policy of siding with the United States to contain it in Asia.”

        The same MEA that plays mind games like these is also going to reject the suggestion of ceasing cooperation on WTO and CC. WTO negotiations have been stuck in the Doha round for the last twenty years, and the CC treaties are a sham anyway. The only reason they keep on going is bureaucratic inertia and political hogwash. I am not talking about India’s bureaucracy here. I am talking about how all countries’ bureaucracies treat these global treaties. So China does not care if we cooperate with it on WTO and CC.

        As for starting a trade war, the only thing that will happen after India imposes custom duties is that Chinese goods will now go to Pakistan, then Dubai, and then India. Even the Dubai step is mostly be skipped today with fake invoices. That is just the free market.
        Mr. Karnad has always advocated exploiting the free market in India’s relations with Pakistan: buying the Pakistani generals’ loyalty by offering their factories access to the Indian market. It is not as though the China-Pakistan trade relationship is any more disadvantageous than the India-China trade relationship. See here:

      • andy says:

        So India must just sit tight and do nothing in retaliation for such a loss of face brought about by Chinese pigheadedness?
        The least India can do is take a leaf out of Vietnam’s book,who gave the Chinese a bloody nose in 1979 when China invaded Vietnam.The same Vietnamese people also sent the elite troops of a superpower packing from its territory, holding them off for a long time with a rag tag combination of poorly trained & equipped army plus militia & ultimately winning against all odds.They know for sure how to stand up to China.
        Aside from trying to pick holes,would like to hear from you what India should be doing now?
        Each time over the years, India has been doing the same things over and over again and every time expecting the result to be different, that is an apt definition of insane behavior.

      • andy says:

        If freedom of navigation patrols by India in the south China Sea is bullshit,then by the same measure so is the presence of Chinese submarines in the Indian ocean,as also their docking in Sri Lankan and Pakistani ports.

        Anyways it’s not about what’s bullshit and what’s not,its about tit for tat behaviour in the face of a bullying power that likes nothing better than to see another cowering in fear at the first sign of saber rattling.The contempt China has for Indian power is a result of such fearful Indian behavior in the face of repeated Chinese needling, wether it’s their claim on sovereign Indian territory of Arunachal Pradesh,their illegal occupation of India’s territory of aksai chin in ladakh,their transferring missile and nuclear technology to Pakistan with impunity, their repeated incursions across the LAC,presence of Chinese army personnel in POK,their repeated attempts to thwart Indian resolutions in the UN,stapled visas for J&K residents,so on and so forth,with latest episode at the NSG plenary in Seoul.

        All this and then some more China has done with scant disregard for Indian sensitivities, just because they know there will be no swift and damaging response from India.

      • S3 says:


        Let me answer your concerns one by one:

        1. “Aside from trying to pick holes,would like to hear from you what India should be doing now?”

        Concentrate on the economy. China is staring at two Japanese style lost decades.
        I have linked above to the blog of Michael Pettis, Professor of Finance at Beijing University, which explains how that is going to happen. The same phenomena is going to be repeated in India during its own economic growth process in the near future.
        China did not learn from Japan. India has to learn from China and Japan. Because Niccolo Machiavelli wrote:

        “I believe that the following would be the true way to paradise – learn the way to hell in order to flee from it.”

        2. “All this and then some more China has done with scant disregard for Indian sensitivities, just because they know there will be no swift and damaging response from India.”

        I have linked above to a two-part article at the blog Visions of Empire. It is about the Chinese navy’s detour, after a training exercise with the Russians, to near extremely sensitive American facilities off the coast of Alaska. This happened last year, and was not widely reported anywhere. Even America is having to tread carefully. India is not bigger than America.

        3. “a bullying power that likes nothing better than to see another cowering in fear at the first sign of saber rattling”

        Not my impression. The Chinese and Japanese peoples are famously polite. The Japanese language, for example, has a most intricate system of honorifics that makes learning to use it correctly very difficult.

        4. “Vietnamese people also sent the elite troops of a superpower packing from its territory, holding them off for a long time with a rag tag combination of poorly trained & equipped army plus militia & ultimately winning against all odds”

        They were not a poorly trained army: they had beaten the Americans just four years earlier. They had intelligence from Soviet space satellites. And China was not a superpower then: the US and USSR were.

        5. “loss of face brought about by Chinese pigheadedness?”

        It wasn’t just China. Brazil, Switzerland, et al. were also against. You want to obsess over losing face? I can tell you a story about a Chinese emperor who executed his best general, because that general had pointed out that the emperor was infertile, and the emperor paid for it by losing half his kingdom. Tell me if you want to hear it.

      • andy says:

        The superpower I alluded to was the USA & not China which still isn’t a super power.
        Nothing much to offer except ‘concentrate on the economy’ as for’ lost decades’,India already lost 1 decade when The UPA was in power & not interested in implementing much needed economic reforms.As that experience shows Indians don’t need to learn ‘the way to hell from China & japan’,they are very good at finding it themselves.

        ‘The Chinese and Japanese people are famously polite’

        Whats being said here,Polite people cannot weild hard power?On one hand we have the spectacle of repeated Chinese action inimical to the Indian nation as listed above by me ,on the other there are Indians who just want maintain the status quo and turn a Nelson’s eye to all these transgressions.

        Better read Mr.Karnads book’ why India is not a great power( yet)’to learn why wielding hard power is important for India’s rise.

      • andy says:

        Ever wonder how Russia with a $1.2 trillion GDP,is staring down the USA which has a $ 17 trillion economy?

      • S3 says:


        1. “Indians don’t need to learn ‘the way to hell from China & japan’,they are very good at finding it themselves.”

        Finding and understanding are completely different things. I suggest you look at the twitter handle @subyroy. It belongs to Subroto Roy, who was Rajiv Gandhi’s economic adviser and the brains behind the 1991 economic reforms. His views on economic policy are as radical as Mr Karnad’s on military policy. And as with Mr Karnad, and as Mr Modi has proven, getting the politicians to listen is still another matter.

        2. “Ever wonder how Russia with a $1.2 trillion GDP,is staring down the USA which has a $ 17 trillion economy?”

        At the time of Russian Revolution, 80% of children in the Russian empire were enrolled in school (for my source, see http://www.unz.com/akarlin/tribal-stalinism/#comment-1456006). This human capital was inherited by the Soviet Union, and then by the Russian Federation.

        The United States right now is in a late stage of imperial decay. 18 out of the 19 hijackers on 11 September 2001 were Saudis, so, logically, they invaded Iraq and trampled all over Afghanistan. Their education system is increasingly in shambles.
        Read this link – https://mathbabe.org/2015/10/20/guest-post-dirty-rant-about-the-human-brain-project – and tell me if there is any difference between Indian and Western science research organisations except for more money and hence bigger frauds.

        It all comes down to human capital. The faceoff is between a genius like Putin on one side and a nitwit like Obama/Clinton on the other. India has far less human capital than China to begin with, and what it has is being steadily exported to the West.

        3. “on the other there are Indians who just want maintain the status quo”

        Test the thermonuclear designs. Acquire overseas bases. Ditch the Indo-US nuclear agreement somehow.

        And instead of prostrating before the NSG cartel, compete with it for nuclear commerce: https://jaideepprabhu.org/2016/06/24/what-next-with-the-nsg/

        4. “Polite people cannot weild hard power?”

        Of course they can. But they do so with sangfroid. The Americans bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999 and said that it happened by mistake, despite overwhelming evidence that it happened by purpose. Did the Chinese do anything then?
        Fifteen years later they are in Alaska.

        No empire in world history has ever lasted longer than about ten generations.
        See http://people.uncw.edu/kozloffm/glubb.pdf. Want to become a world power? Understand the large scale structure of history. From the last link:

        “The reason that nobody ever learns from history is that nobody is ever taught history”.

        Notice how flippantly you dismissed my suggestion to learn from China and Japan’s economic morass. You and I are using the term lost decade in completely different senses. Japan’s GDP in 1995 was 5.3 trillion USD. In 2005 it was 4.6 trillion USD. Negative growth. The same thing is quite likely to start in China before the year 2020. How does that compare to India 2004-14? Hell does not come in one flavour.

        If somebody were to take your advice and ignore Chinese and Japanese economic history completely, then he would go from A, where we are now, to B, where Japan is, and no further. The way that Japan went from A to B made getting stuck there inevitable.

        History is the one subject that is not taught properly anywhere in the world. Things rise and things fall with no one having any clue what is going on. Look at Brexit. And historical education, being the record of all other aspects, is the most important aspect of human capital. Only the Indian and American states, lacking as they do in human capital, could come up with plans as insipid as arming a Tibetan resistance movement.
        Tibetans are 0.3 % of China’s total population. That is not a typo. 0.3%. If you put together a list of ethnicities in China in decreasing order of population, they would be at ninth place. Good luck with those numbers. You think the Chinese did not have plans as bad as that in 1999? They had bad plans and no plan. They chose no plan. Because sangfroid.

      • S3 says:

        5. “The superpower I alluded to was the USA & not China which still isn’t a super power.”

        And I am supposed to just assume that Vietnam’s experience in a two-decade long guerilla war with France and then America is supposed to have any significant relevance when discussing a month-long regular war with China? If the two kinds of war were the same, how did the Americans have so different results on the two occasions they went to war with Iraq?

      • S3 says:


        And speaking of sangfroid, Putin himself overrode his own military’s assertions that the sinking of the Kursk submarine in 1999 was done by the CIA, wrote Accident as the conclusion of the official report of inquiry, and sawed off the recovered submarine’s nose to hide the evidence. Watch the interview that he gave to Larry King the same year after it happened. Not even a hint of anger.

      • andy says:

        The context was how the Vietnamese stand up to the Chinese, not what tactics were used ,wether a long drawn out guerrilla war with the USA or a short sharp conflict with the Chinese.Point is the spine shown by the Vietnamese people & their leaders in not only standing up to these two much stronger adversary’s but making them back off.

        If you would like to discuss the tactical errors made by the USA in Vietnam or the blitzkrieg type dash through the desert during operation Iraqi freedom,you would also have to factor in the dissimilar terrain & the geopolitical situation prevalent at the time,one would be game for it, but this would certainly not be the right place to start such a long discussion,also one would be digressing from the topic at hand. No two battles are similar, forget about two wars being similar.

      • andy says:

        Putin’s attitude is based on raw hard power. Russian SS 18 missiles (codenamed Satan by NATO) tipped with 3000 nuclear warheads, can wipe out all life from the continental US within 30 minutes of launching a saturation attack.The USA has no defenses against this doomsday weapon.

  12. The NSG waiver secured by India in 2008 is very risky.Once India becomes part of NSG then India cannot be thrown out of NSG by anyone.Right now NSG waiver can be revoked if India does anything which Americans may not like.

    THE REASON why you do not want India to join NSG is because you want India to remain dependent on Russia forever.Russia is a country which can supply India with natueral uranium and LWR without India being signing NPT or NSG waiver.If India joins NSG then Russia will not have the leverage that it has.Then India can freely and without any fear of uranium supplies being cut can buy Natural Uranium and nuclear reactors from anywhere in the world.

    If India’s joining NSG is useless then WHY IS BRAZIL feeling Jealous ?

    India should cut a deal with the chinese as far as India’s getting in NSG is concerend and Chinese want to join MTCR.ONE American phone call is enough to make Turkey agree to India’s entry into NSG!!!

    • andy says:

      If that be the case,why was Russia supporting India’s bid to become a member of NSG???

      If Turkey is so pliant to American pressures, why didn’t it support India’s case inspite of repeated American recommendations???

  13. Russia cannot openly stop India’s entry into NSG.The reason why Russians do not want India to enter NSG is because they want India to always remain dependent on them.But they also cannot openly stop India entry into NSG because if they veto it then Russian Double GAME with India will be exposed. IT WILL BE ALL OVER!!!!!!!! India will not buy anything from Russia again and will move further into an alliance with America.

    Take for Example Iran.Russia has no interest in Iran getting a Nuclear Bomb.But Russian engagement with Iran is to deter America and get concessions from America in Europe.America is pushing Nato to Russian borders.Russia wants Iran to be a Pariah state forever.Russia had no interest in Iran striking a deal with the Americans but still they could not sabotage it openly. If Russia had tried to scuttle the Iranian nuke deal then their double game would have been exposed and whatever influence it had with Iranians would have been wiped out.The deal would have been signed anyway!!!! Americans want to cut a deal and Iranian Mullahs have no stomach to fight America.Now Iranian gas and oil can enter world market freely , further reducing price of oil and gas.

    As for Turkey, they are not in a position to say no to an American Phone Call.Turkey is preparing to invade Syria by this year end.Turkish Army and Saudi Money, will pack Assad Regime off !!!!!

  14. Sam says:

    Hi Bharat,

    My thoughts were very similar to the one that MEA had. I agree with you that even before I did not think that China or Turkey will budge(the rest I thought would have been convinced US). But I still thought it was an important effort because if done right then:
    1. Only China opposes us. This isolates them on international forums, putting enormous pressure on them.
    2. We finally unmask to the public that China is the true strategic rival not Pakistan (who is not even in the same league). Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai still runs strong among many.

    That there were other nations who opposed ensured that this plan went horribly wrong
    Can you elaborate on why this is not a good strategic objective? We don’t necessarily have to go over to Americans. There is plenty of opposition to them domestically to make this difficult and extract more concessions from them.

    Quite frankly the notions of power among Indian public is laughable. If you have ever been to a popular website called Quora(question answer forum), read any of the numerous answers about India’s UNSC permanent seat etc. They are deluding themselves. They all equate economic clout with hard power and claim that it is not a zero sum game. But I think after some point it becomes a zero sum game.

    “Jaisi praja waisa Raja”

    Regarding your points about sale of BrhaMos, I think the Russians may not be too eager for it to be sold to Philippines. In any case China has serious economic and diplomatic clout at the Kremlin and they will use it to scuttle the deal. How can that be dealt with? I know that even Russia fears China’s rise but with the West constantly isolating Russia they may not feel too inclined to go against the Chinese.

    I think we need the seat simply because we would be the rule makers then. That is why it is important. I wonder if the 2008 waiver can be withdrawn in unfavorable times? This also elevates us above Pakistan something that you mentioned China is unwilling to do in your recent talk.

    On a different topic: Have you any articles or reviews of John Mearshimer, his books or his theiry of Offensive Realism? His thoughts and yours match so much.

  15. andy says:

    Putin’s attitude is based on raw hard power.Russian SS 18 missiles(code named Satan by NATO) tipped with 3000 nuclear warheads ,can wipe out all life from the continental US within 30 minutes after launching a saturation attack.The USA doesn’t have any answers for this doomsday weapon.

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