An incoherent, unstrategic, anti-Russia tirade

[Swamy with Prime Minister Modi]

Subramaniam Swamy, Rajya Sabha MP, has long been a fixture of the Delhi scene and never out of the news. If he is not playing the Scarlet Pimpernel in Indira Gandhi’s Parliament-held-hostage drama during the Emergency, he is exposing the Gandhi Family for some corruption or the other, his latest target being Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case involving dummy companies and suspicious property transactions. At all times his contacts in the Enforcement Bureau and the Intelligence Bureau keep him supplied with photocopies of “documents” supporting his charge that he can wave at television cameras and still the hearts of those he has accused and their effort to take him to Court because, it turns out, he is well-versed in law.

Swamy has held various posts in numerous governments, including as Minister for Commerce and Industry in Chandrashekhar’s (1990-91). Usually he was considered a nuisance and, in US President B. Lyndon Johnson’s phrase, kept inside the tent to piss out rather than that he remain outside pissing in (!), and fobbed off with minor sinecures on the Planning Commission, Standards Commission, etc. Through out his time in and out of government he cultivated contacts who kept him abreast of what was happening at any time in the corridors of power. He exploited this insider information to prop up his reputation as the stormy petrel of Indian politics, eager and ready for a political donnybrook with anyone, any party, any institution at any time. So when not pillorying the Congress party he is publicly roasting his own ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (albeit, media cell) for “going rogue” as he did three months ago supposedly for mounting “personal attacks” on him. ( https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/subramanian-swamy-accuses-bjp-it-cell-of-running-a-campaign-against-him-1719522-2020-09-07 ).

However, for iconoclasts, he is an absolute delight, showing particular talent for being a god awful pain-in-the-butt for the government of the day and its durbaris. Have been acquainted with him for over 30 years now and never failed to admire his chutzpah (gall in Hebrew), and his sheer talent for effrontery. How can one not like a man whose intent is to wreck whatever political dispensation is supreme in Delhi at the moment, and who wears his crustiness and don’t-give-a-damn-attitude and not so thinly-veiled contempt, especially for those holding power, on his sleeve? This even though his overarching ambition is actually to run the government and to set it on the right course. What that course could be is hard to say considering the fluidity of his views! But being erudite, he is normally persuasive when making his point.

It was, therefore, a shocker to read a fortnight back his article attacking Russia for not being India’s “friend”. (See his “Russia is not a friend”, Sunday Guardian, 31 Oct 2020 ( https://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/russia-not-friend-india ). Not sure what it is that has got Swamy riled. But the case he makes is so incoherent I can scarcely believe he penned it. Having already confessed my admiration for him I will carefully deconstruct his argument because he carries weight with many in the BJP.

Take Swamy’s 1st line of argument. He writes: “For China, Russia was a trusted friend and a patron of the communist parivar from 1949 to 1960. Then at China’s weakest moment in 1960, faced with a gigantic collapse of the ill-conceived Great Forward Movement and a huge famine, when between 16 to 32 million Chinese died due to starvation, Moscow ordered the withdrawal from China all its industrial projects, its blueprints, and technical staff, resulting in the collapse China’s industrial sector….To collapse this project, the Soviets led by Khruschev cancelled all the industrial projects that were being implemented to modernise China, and also withdrew all the experts along with the blueprints sent to China….Not only did the Great Leap Forward become a disaster for agriculture, but industry got stunted, and because of terrible drought about 16 million to 32 million died in the ensuing famine in 1960-61.”

So Russia’s NOT being nice — more countries shouldn’t be nice — to China is held against Russia’s being India’s friend? This doesn’t make sense and, if anything, suggests why India should have Russia in its corner. If Swamy means by this reference to show up Russia as an unreliable partner, then the burden of proof rests on him to prove, to show, that it has faltered as a friend. This he hasn’t done. The fact is starting in the 1950s the Soviet Union helped set up heavy industries in India, including the Bhilai steel plant and, in the wake of the 1962 War with China, increasing ideological alienation from Mao’s China led to Moscow offering 12 ready-to-fly supersonic MiG-21s along with the licensed production rights for this aircraft and its jet engine. These Russian offers were in the context of a grateful Indian government accepting them less because Nehru was a communist camp follower than because Washington promised than failed to get the US Steel Company to set up the Bhilai plant and, post-1962, failed to provide the supersonic F-104 fighter aircraft transferred to Pakistan that Delhi had sought, offering instead the transonic, low performance, ‘Freedom fighter’ — the Northrop F-5. The record shows the Soviet Union-Russia has supplied its latest military hardware; if there has been a spares problem with them it is because the Indian armed services and Defence Ministry never bothered to segue their requirements with the Russian spares procurement protocols as Indian military stalwarts admit.

Consider Swamy’s 2nd line of argument: “The transition of Russia has been amazing. First there was the Czarist monarchy called Russia, which the royalty ruled from St Petersburg as capital. Then there emerged through a revolution led by Lenin the Bolshevik state, and after Lenin’s death was followed by Joseph Stalin’s communist Soviet Union with its capital in Moscow. Today there is Putin’s Oligarchic Russia being ruled from Moscow. These the government formations spanned a century since 1920.But the bottom line has remained the same—a government led by dictatorship, which is expansionist, an oligarchy and headed for bankruptcy.”

The monarchist/totalitarian antecedents of the Russia state is, astonishingly, wheeled out to support Swamy’s case of Russia being an uncertain ally to China! This is non-sequiter-ish, at best and, in any case, how does it matter to India’s national interest what kind of a state Russia is? Even so, Swamy uses this to also buttress his contention that the US will make for a better partner!! This last view is built on the common belief that democracies get along better with other democracies. Which’s fine in rhetoric but is irrelevant when it comes to the hard business of inter-state relations when considerations of the national interest kick in. Hence, a democratic America finds that authoritarian states are more malleable and relations with them less complicated. It explains Washington’s marked historic partiality for unfree countries usually run by generals. Thus, Pakistan has always been the preferred US partner in South Asia, not India.

Then there are sideline declaratory references by Swamy with no proof or historical evidence adduced for them either, such as: “Nehru was fooled into thinking that leaders in Moscow were permanent friends, but in fact we Indians were more like “Pavlovian dogs”, that is, those who complied on signals from Moscow.” When actually, Nehru, the quintessential upper class Englishman (who unself-consciously told Malcolm Muggeridge in a 1958 BBC interview that he was the last Englishman to rule India!) was contemptuous of Russians — if not of Russia whose leap into the status of an industrialized state inside of a generation he hoped to replicate in India, referring for instance to the shabby clothes his Russian interlocuters wore. And pray, Mr Swamy, which Indians, and when and where have salivated like “Pavlovian dogs”? And, more amusingly, Swamy’s view that “Indian patriots suspect that Netaji Subash Bose, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Deendayal Upadhyaya, and Sanjay Gandhi were assassinated by the KGB to ensure secure entry into the top positions for Nehru, Indira Gandhi, and Sonia Gandhi.” And how “clinching proofs are kept in frozen vaults in tight fisted Russian archives”.

Sanjay Gandhi is classed a “patriot” alongside Netaji, Shastri, Upadhyaya, uh?!! What?!! That the chief goon of the Emergency is so elevated must spin some heads! An awful lot of the “tight-fisted Russian archives” are actually already available in published form as the Mitrokin Archives. And there are, indeed, mentions in them of Indian leaders of the Communist party stripe beholden to Moscow and even some Indira Gandhi-appointed ambassadors to the USSR reacting, as Pavlovian dogs are supposed, to at the first hint of financial consideration and largesse coming their way.

Swamy’s 3rd line of argument is that “the Russians act according to the interests of China. That is, Russia is a ‘junior partner’ of China. Russia, according to Putin’s 23 October 2020 statement, ‘could enter into a military alliance with China’. Since India purchased the S-400 air to surface rocket attachment for jet fighters in 2018, India has been increasingly relying on Russia for weapons. India appears to have accepted Russia as a de facto mediator in the conflict with China since 18 April 2020 in Ladakh.”

Logically, how does the 2nd contention that India is increasingly buying Russian arms follow from the 1st about Russia being China’s “junior partner”? It doesn’t.

Another Swamyism: “In 1972, the US changed its two-decade-old stand and voted to admit China into the United Nations and invited it to take the seat of permanent member with a veto at the UN Security Council. China was greatly benefitted by the US granting it the Most Favoured Trade Clause, thus opening US markets to China, and for Joint Ventures to enable China to produce with its cheap and captive labour, and accelerate Chinese GDP at more than 10-12% growth rate for a decade. China soon rose from 9th position in GDP ranking to second position by the year 2000.”

How this point in any way strengthens Swamy’s view that the US is a great friend of India, is anybody’s guess. But Swamy needs reminding that the US Security Council seat was first offered India by both the US (John Foster Dulles) and Russia (Khruschev) but Nehru in a fit of strategic stupidity wanted it occupied by China instead! Moreover, had Indira Gandhi in 1966 radically overhauled the over-bureaucratized socialist apparatus of the Indian state and opened up the Indian economy as Johnson Administration had advised her to do — and which Dengxiaoping did in China in 1979, India too could have benefited from open access to, and trade with, America and emerged as the global source of low cost consumer items.

Here’s another unconnected remark by Swamy that makes an unclear case more opaque. “Currently, Sino-Russian trade has more than doubled” He writes. “Russia’s central bank has increased its Chinese currency reserves from less than 1% to over 15%. Germany is no more the principal supplier of industrial plant and technology to Russia. China is! Action is taking place in multilateral forums such as BRICS, increasingly sophisticated joint military exercises, and pooling of influence with countries such as Iran. The S-400 missile system built by Russia and sold to India has Chinese electronics. This has alienated the US, which was about to sell advanced military hardware to India, but has put it on hold because US cannot risk Chinese or Russian espionage in India on advanced US weapons systems.”

Well, yes, Russia is increasingly beholden to China to keep it economically afloat but only in the neo-colonial sense of China denuding the Russian Far East (Siberia) of all its natural resources — wood, minerals and oil to keep its industries going. However, his assertion that the Indian purchase of the S-400 has alienated the US and stopped it from selling Delhi “advanced military hardware” is questionable. Of course, Washington is upset that India purchases military goods from Russia, but there’s nothing that the US can do about it. However, what is the mysterious “advanced” hardware that Swamy is hinting at? Surely not the F-21 fighter aircraft — a ridiculous makeover of the 1960s’ F-16 plane because that’s at the top of Washington’s arms sales agenda. So it must be the improbably expensive EMALS (Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System) for aircraft carriers that is costed at one billion dollars and which the US Navy finds too pricey. It is sought to be sold to India for $2-$3 billion! The last one heard, the Indian Navy, fortunately, was in the right mind to reject it.

After pursuing all the above uniformly unsustainable lines of argument to a dead end, Swamy finally rounds in on his main theme. “India has to make a choice: Either we partner US strategically”, he states, “or Russia and China together. If we have a conflict with China, Russia therefore cannot be trusted, nor if we do, will the US trust us. Hence, this dream of isolating China by trusting Russia is short-sighted. Russia is no more, if ever since 1992, a friend of India in the sense of standing up with India against China. India”.

In the hard realpolitik perspective, India shouldn’t care who it sides with — even if it is the devil — just so long as this tilt helps its cause. The US, Russia and China are all equally out to further their particular regional, international, and geostrategic interests at the expense of every other country, including India. For Swamy to think that the US is somehow different in this respect is to be delusional. Still he should be aware that the Sino-Russian linkup is not going at all smoothly, and that Putin’s Russia has always been aware and apprehensive of China’s designs on Siberia, and acted to counter it. That India is a piece in this strategic game versus China is as true as the fact that Delhi uses and can continue to use its relations with Moscow as leverage to, on one hand, extract more from Washington, and on the other, to muddy up Beijing’s strategic calculus and keep Xi Jinping uncertain and on the hop — the reason why Xi is now holding the PLA on a tight leash in Ladakh. Besides, Swamy a little too readily assumes the former KGB agent Vladimir Putin and the Russia he leads can be China’s willing plaything, and obviously underestimates the political-military weight Moscow packs in its conditional concert with China.

Swamy’s solution that while “India in a border war with China, does not need allies. But if China expands the war arena with India, then of course the Quad arrangement with Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and other nations can form a grand alliance” does not mention the US, and closely resembles the geostrategic architecture of littoral and offshore states organic to Asia conceptualized by me in my 2018 book (Staggering Forward: Narendra Modi and India’s Global Ambition) as the “modified quadrilateral” or “Mod Quad” of India, Japan, Australia, and a group of Southeastern nations, inclusive of Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

There may be more to Swamy’s crotchetiness though. In his eighties now, the 1939-born politician’s ambition remains unfulfilled and unfettered as is his frustration with not achieving his goal. Despite being mollified by the BJP regime and personally by Modi, Swamy now and again voices his desire to be appointed Finance Minister. ( https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2019/05/29/is-subramanian-swamy-upset-with-bjp-over-lack-of-recognition.html ). But why would Modi want a proven curmudgeon and malcontent in North Block when a pliable Nirmala Sitharaman is there to take his dictation, not make waves? So Swamy knows he doesn’t have a sporting chance and therefore hasn’t quailed from taking potshots at Modi that few on the country’s political stage would dare do. Like when Swamy talked about the “war like” situation on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh this past summer. When someone asked him why he was reticent about using his alleged contacts in China to defuse the situation, Swamy retorted, per ‘Janta Reporter’ of 13 June, that “If Namo does not want to use my economic expertise why would he want [to do so] on China?” (See http://www.jantakareporter.com/india/subramanian-swamy-advised-by-seer-to-show-his-anger-to-pm-modi-bjp-mp-makes-stunning-revelation/293717/ ) Why indeed.

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.
This entry was posted in Africa, arms exports, asia-Pacific/Indo-Pacific, Asian geopolitics, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, China military, civil-military relations, corruption, Decision-making, Defence procurement, domestic politics, Geopolitics, geopolitics/geostrategy, Great Power imperatives, India's China Policy, India's Pakistan Policy, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian Air Force, Indian Army, Indian ecobomic situation, Indian Navy, Indian Ocean, Indian Politics, Intelligence, Japan, MEA/foreign policy, Military Acquisitions, Pakistan, Pakistan military, Relations with Russia, Russia, russian assistance, russian military, society, South Asia, South East Asia, Strategic Relations with South East Asia & Far East, Strategic Relations with the US & West, Technology transfer, Tibet, UN, United States, US., Vietnam, Weapons. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to An incoherent, unstrategic, anti-Russia tirade

  1. LowIQ says:

    When I read that article by him back in October, I was like…’there he goes again…’

    My guess is that he did it on cue — there are at least half a dozen websites very losely associated with Russian govt. (some of them were called out about 3 months ago, IIRC, by the US DoD for spreading anti-US propaganda) which indulge in disseminating subtle propaganda pieces, a not insignificant amount of which is about India. There are many “interesting” writers (most of them Left leaning and do not reflect the official stance of the Russian govt.) on these sites with Andrew Korybko only being the most notorious one (He once claimed that “Hindutvas” and “Wahabis” are allies!). Some analysts claim that these portals are targetted towards Latin America and Europe.

    Who better to take on such lose cannons than another lose cannon viz. Mr. Swamy — perhaps someone higher up noticed these sub-par propaganda outlets and said, “Let us also try once”…?

    Be it as it may be. Not too many weeks ago, ORF and assorted–but well known–experts from the Valdai Club and other Russian institutions had a call about India-Russia relations and in that call the Russians–before the recent statement by Lavrov, about West provoking India against China–made similar claims, which were then very passionately refuted by Samir Saran “It is not the US army in eye-to-eye posture at India’s border but the Chinese”.

    Russia is indeed, as you’ve very well put, economically tied-up (and concerned about it too) with China but reasoned voices, such as Karaganov, have argued for a change in position (..what will Russia do if something happens to the Chinese economy..). It appears that Russia-India relations are going through a minor rough patch, but things are otherwise stable.

    S. Jaishankar (I know you’re not his fan) in his book talks about opening up with Europe, deeper engagements with US (which he is seeing through…) and “reassuring Russia”. In the light of this, one cannot take Swamy’s comments too seriously. Nonetheless Russia’s official channels noted that article “with regret” and reassured that we’re not only good friends but “soulmates”!

    ..and I regret this long comment.

    Stay safe.

    • MrMister says:

      Lol! You seem to be a self-aware person.

      “on these sites with Andrew Korybko only being the most notorious one (He once claimed that “Hindutvas” and “Wahabis” are allies!)”

      Actually that “subpar” analyst has proven himself to be far more insightful than the uncouth rightwing warmongers who pass off as analysts in your nation (fellows like Iyer, Bakshi, Sareen, come to mind immediately?).

      The few exceptions are Karnad here (who can be balanced, even if a little hawkish), Bhadrakumar, Pravin Sawhney, etc. The latter 2 will of course be dismissed as leftist, but in the end, it is the frequency of how correct an analyst is, which should matter.

      Even your jibe in brackets is a great example of that “subpar” analyst’s skill at geopolitics & geostrategy. Can’t you see how the gulf states (the wahhabis) are in bed with Modi (does he not represent Hindutva)?

      I personally cannot see any logic in this accursed relationship, but it is there for all to see. It is the low-IQ out there who can’t.

      Consider, the wahhabis support the hindutvars on Kashmir, Financial Investments to prop up your super-rich cronies, Presenting Awards to hindutvars, etc., while punishing (cancelling visas, demanding loan repayments, etc.) their muslim Pakistani “brethren.” What is going on?!

      Ultimately, even a novice like me can see that the further the relationship between India and America progresses, the estrangement with Russia will be proportional. The latest manifestation is the following;

      https://theprint.in/diplomacy/india-russia-annual-summit-postponed-for-1st-time-in-two-decades-amid-moscows-unease-with-quad/572160/

      • LowIQ says:

        If it is a zero-sum game, as you suggest above, perhaps Kudashev is delusional then..?

        Facts on the ground–too many to list here–do not square with many of those (including Korybko) writers’ “analysis”.

        Stay safe.

  2. Sohamg says:

    According to an article by the H Times, India has rejected the Chinese proposal of converting the Pangong 1-8 area into a buffer zone and has asked them to restore the status quo as it was in April 2020.

  3. PRATIK KUMAR says:

    Sir its a suggestion, you should start your youtube channel. You will be able to reach and influence much larger public.

  4. Tony says:

    Swamy is ego maniac and knows which side to butter a skill he learned to perfection while at Harvard a place proven to imbibe buttering skills . Russia is no Soviet union and outside moscow is third world where most people live to get by and hence need chinese money desperately to develop as westen capital is blocked. They are friends of India but many of their acts leave lot to be desired , mark up on some redone and polished soviet junk is astronomical and comission agents know where to oil on both sides of power. Except for Israel I do not think india has any real friends .

  5. San Mann says:

    India should seek another cryogenic rocket engine deal with Russia. The timing is ripe for this, and the technology would advance India’s strategic use of space.

    In the early 80s, while India was negotiating the purchase of Mirage fighters, India undertook a deal with France to obtain technology transfer of their hypergolic Viking engine developed for their Ariane-1 rocket, which resulted in the Vikas engine used in the PSLV and GSLV rockets.

    In 1991, India entered into a deal with Moscow for purchase and technology transfer for their NKVD-1 cryogenic rocket engines, intended for use in their abandoned N-1 Moon rocket program. As we know, problems soon resulted, first through US pressure on Russia to cancel the deal, and subsequently the targeting of ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan, who had negotiated the arrangement. We then had to proceed on our own in developing the hydrogen-fueled cryogenic engines ourselves, which have now been used in the GSLV rockets after a delay of more than a decade.

    In 2005, India undertook a deal with Ukraine for technology transfer of their RD-810 rocket engine, which is based on Russia’s RD-120. This kerosene engine is being developed by us as SCE-200, and is to be integrated into the GSLV-Mk3 launch stack, which will then become the ULV family of rockets.

    More recently, the private company SpaceX has managed to develop their reusable rocket Falcon-9, which also runs on kerosene, and has a booster that’s able to land vertically to be recoverable and reusable, thus reducing launch costs. Not stopping there, SpaceX is further developing a much larger reusable rocket called Starship, to carry out its goal of colonizing Mars. This vehicle will also be a 2-stage rocket, but with both upper and lower stage able to land, and powered by methane-burning engines, which are considered to be the latest and greatest cryogenic rocket engine technology. In order to fund its Mars colonization goals, SpaceX has also announced it is making Starlink, a large constellation of tens of thousands of satellites, which will generate revenues by offering satellite internet to the entire world. Rival competitor Blue Origin has also developed its own methane engine, BE-4, which it plans to use in its own reusable rocket, New Glenn.

    China is following closely behind, having just the other day carried out the maiden launch of its own reusable rocket, the Long March 8, with a booster which will also be capable of landing vertically. Its first full flight to orbit and back will be in 2021. China plans to use Long March 8 and follow-on vehicles to deploy its own satellite constellations into space. France likewise has a new reusable test vehicle Callisto, from which it will develop its fuller-scale Themis launcher.

    India has planned its own modest test program called ADMIRE (ADvanced MIssion REcovery), to test retropropulsive vertical landing technology using one of GSLV’s small hypergolic liquid strap-on engines fitted with control avionics, fins and legs.

    Seeing the potential military applications of constellations like Starlink and not wanting to be left behind, Russia has announced its intention to build its own reusable rocket, Amur, for launching its own satellite constellations. Amur is to enter into service in 2026, and is to be powered by methane engines which Russia has yet to develop. This is where India should look to see if there might be an opportunity to jointly co-develop the cryogenic methane engine technology with technology transfer, so that we can also make use of it. As mentioned before, engines which burn methane are considered to be the newest and best engine technology, especially useful for reusable rockets. Known to us more commonly as LNG and used as a cooking gas, methane burns cleanly without producing soot, which can clog up engines and reduce their reusable service life. Its cryogenic temperature can also be useful for engine cooling. Additionally, methane’s liquid phase temperature overlaps with that of liquid oxygen, allowing both to share a common tank with only a partition in between to separate them, thus achieving mass savings. Methane provides more thrust than hydrogen, while being more fuel-efficient than kerosene.

    The time has now come for India to seek another cryogenic rocket engine deal with Russia. Given that we’re now a member of the MTCR and are also now more strategically important, we’ll be less likely to experience the same outside interference as in the past, and should make the most of this situation. Russia is also currently cash-strapped, and is facing yet another round of fresh sanctions from the USA. While helping to allay Russian fears of India tilting away from it, a joint deal between Russia and India could help defray development costs, while providing useful strategic technology for both. It would help India to avoid falling behind in the space race, and hopefully avoid too much of a gap with China. Clearly, reusable launch vehicles are the new standard in space capability, and methane propulsion provides the most advantages for this.

    https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ru&tl=en&u=https://www.roscosmos.ru/29357/

  6. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    Mitrokhin exposed how deeply KGB penetrated the Indian establishment;

    https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/the-kgb-papers-it-seemed-like-the-entire-country-was-for-sale/cid/1023636

    The question is why, they did it? In my opinion, it was to keep Indian policy makers under their influence so, that the erstwhile USSR remains the only source of weapon supplies to India. Deals worth Billions.

    Presently, the CIA and the Chinese intelligence must be competing with each other to follow the aforesaid modus operandi of KGB because the current Russian establishment doesn’t have too much money to spare for such exercises.

    Subramanian Swamy is just a noise maker. If Ambani/Adani’s backing can make a school drop out from Gujarat, the Prime Minister of India, imagine what the Chinese establishment could have done for Swamy.

    I made the above point because Swamy claims to know Mandarin. The Chinese don’t take him seriously inspite of Swamy’s knowledge of their language, says enough about the character and capacity of Subramanian Swamy.

  7. Sankar says:

    “In the hard realpolitik perspective, India shouldn’t care who it sides with — even if it is the devil — just so long as this tilt helps its cause …” –

    This is the fundamental of any independent nation-state’s statecraft and it is doubtful how far India has followed this principle ever since its emergence on the world stage in 1947. It reminds of the disastrous “Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai” – the remarkable exception was the period under Indira Gandhi during 1968-1972, a short stint! It seems Delhi is drifting rudderless under Modi-Jaishankar and is confused in its policymaking.

    To my limited understanding, India’s way forward needs to be with the West (US-EU forces)- not any more with the Russo-Chinese grouping for safeguarding India’s sovereignty. Soviets are passe. There is the latest development in the context:
    https://asiatimes.com/2020/12/china-to-strengthen-military-coordination-with-russia/
    which must be taken into account seriously.

    In contrast, there is the upcoming “quad” in the Indo-Pacific. I gathered from some source that the US has been operating their “Global Hawk (GH)” – an unmanned surveillance air platform – to monitor the South-China Sea 24 hours/7days a week. The data gathered enables the US to detect and track any Chinese ship (navy or cargo) entering the waters there. The control centre of the GHs is based in Guam and partly in the US Navy Ships in the area round the clock. These GHs fly high in the sky with all electronic gear so that they cannot be jammed or anyway interfered with as is the case with the useless drones.

    For the last decade, US intelligence and strategic experts have been warning Delhi time and again about the Chinese military buildup in Tibet. Such intelligence data is crucial for India’s defence and the Russians have been silent about it. State-of-the-art hardware is essential for the military, but not at the cost of such intelligence.

    Delhi’s road is clear to follow in the foreseeable future now. The S400 Russian air defence system could perform excellently in some cases, but they are also vulnerable to the Western ECCs (electronic counter-countermeasures) in the battle sky when properly applied. In fact, tracking of low flying aircraft is problematic in all radar systems due to ground clutter.

  8. Andrey Kortunov, as his tagline says, is a Russian govt apparatchik. Note that while he refers to Russia’s burgeoning ties with China, he warns of the costs to India should it tilt too far in America’s direction at the expense of Russia. But he is cautiously realistic to suggest that not all is lost, nor that the slide in Russo-Indian relations are inevitable. It is a warning that foreign ministrr Sergey Lavrov and lesser officials have been voicing and entirely understandable from Moscow’s point of view. Both India and Russia will, however, have to be careful not to wantonly push each other’s buttons because that would be to the detriment of both and the gainer, as always, will be China.

  9. Marco A Ciaccia says:

    Dear Sir, two considerations and one question here:
    1) There have been repeated post Cold War warnings of a Sino-Russian axis emerging to challenge US and Europe in the Eurasian Rimland. I remember one was in the mid-90s, the other during Iraq crisis in 2002-2003, the other losely by end 2000s, around the time of the Russian-Georgian War. Despite all the hopeful predictions of western analysts that such rhetoric would soon morph into something more strategic, neither Moscow nor Peking have proved so naive to run this path, which would have been suicidal to say the least (barring more valuable, proven and historically advantageous diplomatic-strategic routes to both the powers).
    2) Keeping in mind Indian interest to emerge as a world-shaping power in the XXI century, I firmly believe that nothing, repeat nothing is more viable, practical and at the same time ambitious than ending useless conflicts with Pakistan and form a lose confederation on the sort of EU (while, ironically, European federalism is slowly unwinding) to create a large unified market with at least one single currency to compete with US Dollar – and THEN, only then, consider triangular options with Russia and Europe to ringfence/check China
    3) You Sir talk about Chinese project exploitation and unrestricted extraction of natural reserves in the Russian Far East, one of the most beautiful forest land of the Eurasian mass; could you be more specific on this? I am astounded not to have related information from European sources, being EU a self-appointed environmental champion, but again this would not suprise me too much!
    Thanks in advance

  10. Gokul Kumar Kaushik says:

    You should go on his YouTube show to discuss China!

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