War Drills

Even without a war, a war-like situation can always be created through war-drill, a dubious, if not vulgar mechanism, for war-mongers to assert their military might. Right now all the major powers with their multi-billion dollar defence budget are conducting war exercises in different parts of the globe, displaying their high-tech and newly invented weapons to threaten their enemies, imagined or real. America and its allies have made the Indo-Pacific a new theatre for their periodic war -drills with thousands of men in uniform testing their skills in handling missiles, rocket-launchers, air-craft carriers, fighter jets, war ships and all that. Russia and China are not far behind. They too are resorting to dress rehearsals in the same region with a lot of propaganda. In truth Russia is doing drills in other parts of the world to send message to the Uncle Sam and his associates that it is not a one-way traffic. Russia is doing military exercises along with China and Iran, a new configuration changing the existing geopolitical equation. Recently China’s spy ship visited Sri Lankan port which has virtually been sold out to China through a 99- year mortgage. The very presence of Chinese spy ship created a lot of furore in India as also in the West. The hawks in India lost no time to demand similar action to exhibit India’s naval might. And Prime Minister Modi didn’t disappoint them as he would launch India’s indigenous built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant a few days later to show India’s rivals that India’s defence system is gearing up.

The most obnoxious thing in India’s defence culture is the announcement of joint India-US military exercise in Uttarakhand in October near the LAC--Line of Actual Control. The Chinese see it as a provocation. By inviting American troops at the border New Delhi is going to strain relations further with Beijing. In case of a hot war with China America will never come to rescue the beleaguered Modis. Russian support is out of question. In 1971 America sent seventh fleet to help Pakistan against India. It was the Soviet submarine that neutralised the advance moves of America.

One of the purposes of much publicised war drills of America and its allies in the Pacific and Indian oceans is to create a market for Washington’s arms industry.They have built tensions and war hysteria in the South China Sea to such an extent, as if a count-down for a war between China and Taiwan has already begun. America is now dumping huge arms and ammunitions in tiny Taiwan Island in anticipation of an imminent war. Taiwan is spending billions of dollars on arms; the beneficiary is American military-industrial complex. China is also a new player in global arms market. For one thing by continually violating Taiwan’s air space they are no less responsible for aggravating tensions in the region. A Chinese drone has recently been shot down by Taiwan’s air defence unit. If China invades Taiwan, the possibility of which doesn’t look bright despite war propaganda by both sides, America is unlikely to commit troops to Taiwan as they have not done it in Ukraine, albeit Ukraine is now a proxy of America’s war with Russia while Europe has no option but to oblige their White House boss. The Russia-Ukraine war is prolonging because America wants to keep its defence industry buoyant. Then the European war-lords say they won’t allow Russia to win this war. So they are buying weapons from America only to re-sell them to Ukraine. In the end ordinary Ukrainians are paying the price.

Right now Russians are not winning in Ukraine but they are not losing either. In a war attackers suffer maximum casualties. So at the start of the war the Russian army suffered heavily. As the war lingers they are now more in a position of defender, minimising casualties.

No doubt Putin’s invasion has created a living hell in Ukraine, destroying its industrial base, built mainly during the Soviet era. In six months Russia has succeeded to capture only half of Donbas, the industrial hub of Ukraine in the east. Without a negotiated settlement Ukraine’s president Zelensky, a comedian turned politician, is making post-war reconstruction of Ukraine impossible.

Coming back to war drills, America is searching for a new flash point after Ukraine and China is obliging by agreeing to keep the pot boiling. These military exercises change people’s psyche and prepare ground for militarisation of society. It is too naïve to say that joint India-US military drill in Uttarakhand near LAC is not going to affect people. Peace activists across the world do hardly oppose war drills and their adverse impact on civil society.

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Vol 55, No. 12, Sep 18 - 24, 2022