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Editorial

India, Pakistan, USA

The trip by Imran Khan, Pakistan's legendary cricketer-turned-politician, to the USA and his talks with Donald Trump signify one important fact concerning this subcontinent, which is that both Indian and Pakistani governments are unable to shake off their legacy of bowing down to the USA, which, right now, cannot be called the lone superpower, but one of the big powers. It is also interesting that some persons living in the USA and hailing from Baluchistan have demonstrated on the occasion of the former cricketer's visit to the USA in his capacity as the Prime Minister. This has highlighted, in however small a measure, the stark reality of the Baluch question, which successive governments of Pakistan have tried to solve by means of coercion. It may be recalled that during the cricket world cup, questions of 'justice for Baluchistan' and 'justice for Kashmir' were raised through two small planes that flew in the sky of Birmingham.

In dealing with the question of Baluchs and Kashmiris, both governments of this subcontinent are guilty of resorting to coercive methods instead of trying to assess the minds of people and paying heed to their legitimate aspirations. And none can afford to incur the wrath of the USA on any point. A nation that oppresses another can never be independent-- this prophetic statement by Karl Marx seems to have been borne out with uncanny accuracy. India and Pakistan can ill-afford to do what Cuba, North Korea and even Iran can. The latter countries have shown that they can defy the USA and they are precisely doing so, although much can be said about their management of their respective economies and societies. North Korea has forced, through the warning of Mutually Assured Destruction, Donald Trump to give up his belligerent posture and enter into talks. Cuba too has forced the US administration to mellow down despite economic sanctions. But the government of India has been trying to mollify the USA on the issue of oil import and many other subjects. A careful perusal of the nature of joint Indo-US military exercises should be enough to prove this point.

The Modi government is an wilful ally of the USA in the latter's strategy of containing China and not so long ago, its army chief boasted of the Indian army's capacity to 'take on both China and Pakistan at the same time' and the people owing allegiance to the Sangh Parivar went to the extent of claiming that they could even take Beijing swiftly if they so desired. The recent developments in Bhutan in the wake of the Doclam episode have shown that all these were empty, boastful talks. This is further shown by the Modi government's frantic attempts to have the USA on its side in its tussles with China. Why is this craze for US patronage? Is subservience to the US-Israel axis a better option than settlement of disputes with China? A hidden motive might be the desire to take advantage of the USA's trade war with China, because the volume of Chinese goods regularly entering the US market must go down discernibly owing to this trade war. It is possible that the principal economic patrons of Narendra Modi, namely the big corporate bourgeoisie of India, are aspiring to capture the US market hitherto occupied by China-made products. But do the Indian big bourgeoisie have the technological capability to do so? Can they replace the Chinese in the vast US market by producing the goods that the Chinese used to export to the USA? The answer must be in the negative. It is unlikely that the Chinese economy will suffer much owing to the trade war, because they are long-term strategists and are penetrating various regions of Africa and Asia along with trying to expand the domestic market.

There are stupid talks, now much in vogue in this country that China is envious of India's economic progress, although in terms of all the components of Human Development Index, China is significantly ahead of India despite great disparity in income and other entitlements. A recent exercise by Arvind Subramaniam has confirmed the suspicion of many about exaggerated shows of national income growths in India by means of statistical jugglery. The government of India is now boasting about India's capacity to catch up with China within a short period. Here what is revealed is not only an obsession with growth as the sole index of the country's economic capability, but also a sinister design to project Narendra Modi as a mighty, omnipotent person who can take the country to a superpower status. China may be angry with the government of India for another reason. Modi's India is an ally of the USA in the latter's aim of containing China and that is sufficient to earn the ire of the Chinese. The Modi government, on the other hand, thinks this alliance with the USA will bring rich rewards from the latter.

For Pakistan, the matter is a bit more complicated. She is not a competitor of China, and cannot dispense with the latter owing to her age-old contradictions with India, contradictions that were inherent in the manner in which the country was divided. She has allowed China to build up a road through her territory. But there is the problem of Baluchistan for Pakistan and China as well. Pakistan cannot, again, shoot out of the shackles imposed by the USA, because the immense influence of the USA on the Pakistani army is there. Once Z A Bhutto tried to break these shackles. The result was that he was ousted by a military coup and then sent to the gallows after a farcical trial. Every real democrat of India must realize that if this country is to advance in terms of human development, she must settle her contradictions with Pakistan and China. All the three countries should settle their nationality problems by giving the aggrieved nationalities the right to self-determination. Only then can internal stability be restored, the scope of US intervention in Asia's geo-politics be restricted, and more resources be employed for solving the problems of the people. The prospect, however, does not seem to be very promising at the moment. The reasons are various and may be discussed later.

 25-07-2019

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Frontier
Vol. 52, No. 6, Aug 11 - 17, 2019