'An Elephant In The Room'

Cold War is back. So say the new players in the game. In truth it never vanished from the global theatre despite the inglorious demise of Soviet Russia. American geo-political strategists cannot think of a world without war. It may be hot or it may be cold. But it is war all the way. They need an enemy all the time to feed their military-industrial complex while keeping the American public in the dark. If there is no enemy they can always create one. So one time friend Saddam Hussein became a deadly foe overnight. The Soviet communist threat is now a thing of the past, having archive values to arm chair research scholars. The threat is now coming from capitalist China. What is happening behind the 'bamboo curtain' is no longer an issue because there is no curtain, bamboo or otherwise, any more. They find it difficult to contain China in open market, rather free market. With trade war hotting up between America and China, cold war is the logical culmination as both sides resort to verbal war of words every now and then on the slightest pretext.

For one thing America's sole super power stance ever since the disintegration of the erstwhile Soviet empire in the '90s was never accepted by China. Beijing tried to mould the post-Soviet world order according to its own equation—a multi-polar world where China would shine brightly. In other words China itself was a claimant of super power status.

American cold warriors desperately need India in their game plan in the South Asian and Indo-Pacific drama, because of growing Chinese military and economic might. India, having no options, in the face of China's recent aggressive postures, seems to have decided to join the American bandwagon, overtly or covertly, to form a grand alliance or what they call Quad, against China.

America's new strategic programme involving four nations—Japan, Australia, India and the US—may pose a serious challenge to China's hegemonic ambitions, albeit India is still wavering in integrating itself fully with America's geo-strategic design but ultimately it will have to walk along with the Uncle Sam to thwart China's move. If India totally commits itself to Quad—the 4-nation enterprise—its role in BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation cannot be anything but superfluous.

The Ladakh standoff between India and China is unlikely to get resolved amicably in the foreseeable future. After all two parallel lines never meet. Meanwhile China has reportedly amassed 60,000 troops on India's northern border—they are not there for picnic. America has everything to gain from the Ladakh imbroglio. As the Chinese are reviving Chou Enlai's 1959 package of border deal which Nehru rejected, they cannot make a peaceful boundary all along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Chou Enlai in his November 7, 1959 letter to Nehru, proposed that "the armed forces of China and India each withdraw 20 km at once from the so-called Mc Mahon Line in the east, and from the line up to which each side exercised actual control in the west".

With tension simmers in Ladakh, the question of North East insurgency returns and hawks in the Indian military establishment see the possibility of creating 5th column in the region as Beijing, allegedly did it immediately after the 1962 war. The Chinese connection with the North East insurgency was first 'officially' established in January 1967 when the first group of Naga Insurgents led by Thuingalang Muviah (who is now leading negotiations with New Delhi) crossed over to China. There is no denying the fact that China once utilised North East insurgents by providing them arms and military training to destabilise Indian polity. Also, there is every reason to believe that their ideological support to the naxalites movement was primarily aimed at boosting at Chinese national interests, not communist internationalism. Communist Parties, mostly M-L parties across the world that depended on the Chinese Communist Party for ideological and political guidelines in the turbulent '60s and '70s, particularly after the Soviet Party's degeneration into revisionism, were deserted by the CPC in the middle, forcing them to wander in wilderness and face severe state repression.

Whether the die-hard pro-China elements in India's communist movement admit it or not, the Chinese were no less responsible for the set-backs the naxalites movement suffered. At the initial stage they exaggerated everything related to naxalite movement. Ludicrously enough, even a gang fight with crude bombs in a Kolkata suburb became guerilla warfare in Radio Beijing's propaganda. And finally they abandoned the entire movement while restoring their original tie-up with CPM.


Vol. 53, No. 22-25, Nov 29 - Dec 26, 2020