Saturday 26 June 2021

Comprehensive Indo-Pacific alliance essential to meet 21st century threats (The Sunday Guardian)


Is President Biden returning to the path of Bill Clinton by pandering to the GHQ Rawalpindi and the PLA and putting pressure on India to act nice with those responsible for terror and bloodshed in what was the state of Jammu & Kashmir?

New Delhi: The importance given to what is termed the “Gupkar Alliance” in the 24 June 2021 talks held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the situation in the Union Territories of Kashmir, Ladakh and Jammu was an expression of the same Gandhian search for a mutually acceptable solution involving even intransigent sides that has been at the root of the conciliatory gestures made by Modi to elements opposed to him and his policies. Narendra Modi has made no secret of his reverence for the Mahatma, and is always willing to participate in functions abroad where a new statue of the Father of the Nation is being installed as a gesture of friendship to the people of India. It may be worthwhile for him to consider the installation (through private funding) of more statues of freedom warriors from across the world, such as Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King from the US, Ho Chi Minh from Vietnam and Nelson Mandela from South Africa. India led the rest of the world in the battle against colonial oppression during the previous century, and should now act as the spearhead of freedom and rights for all. The only exceptions are those who propagate and promote violence, and seek through such means to tear societies and even countries apart at the cost of human misery.
US President Bill Clinton was, from 1992 to 1998, a backer of the abortive secession of Jammu & Kashmir from the rest of India, as well as the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, backing his hand-picked Assistant Secretary of State Robin Raphel as she went about seeking to ensure both tasks. The US diplomat who has earned notoriety for being the Godmother of the Taliban in this role fortunately failed in Kashmir, but tragically for the region and finally the US as well, succeeded in installing the Taliban in Kabul in 1994 with the blessings of the White House and an oil company whose understanding of exactly what they were helping to gain power over Afghanistan did not reach even the kindergarten level. Amazingly, the same individual who was the company’s point person for promoting the Taliban’s interests during that period emerged in 2019 to take on the same role, this time arranging a US surrender to the Taliban in Doha the following year, when Donald J. Trump was still President of the US. Apparently, the capability of the US system to learn from the past has been overrated, given that (together with others such as Dr Anthony Fauci), such Trump-era officials were retained by the 46th President of the US, Joe Biden, in 2021, in tasks where they have substantially harmed US interests in the past.
Given that the Government of India is extremely parsimonious with the information it shares with the public, and that each participant in any meeting retails to others only the version that shows him or her in the best light, understanding what took place behind closed doors during the 24 June meeting on the former J&K is problematic. So far as the inner functioning of a government that requires the popular vote to retain its grip on power is concerned, the same remains in a lead box. Cynics have it that from the time it was brought into force, the Right to Information Act ought to have been called the Right to Withhold Information Act, but this seems an overreaction. The RTI has been better than nothing, although it is in need of improvements that do not seem likely to appear anytime soon. Those who have long ignored the fact that Article 370 was rooted in the false and pernicious Two Nation theory and that Article 35A was an impediment to the development of what was the state of Jammu & Kashmir before trifurcation claim that the 24 June meeting is the precursor to the reinstatement of both, an unlikely possibility. What is more likely is that Prime Minister Modi, with skill and sincerity, clearly explained to the invitees of the meeting what the future trajectory of the three Union Territories will be. This is the generation of double digit growth in an atmosphere free of violence.
Those few families in Kashmir that have risen from moderate circumstances to great wealth during the previous era may not be happy that the people of the new Union Territories are enjoying a period of relative calm despite efforts at bringing back the turbulent past by the Sino-Pakistan alliance. They may want to ensure that at least the Valley of Kashmir (which has the potential to be the Silicon Valley of India) should return to the days when the writ of the CBI, ED, Income-Tax and other agencies involved in the search for illicit incomes effectively did not operate. The rest of the population, including in the Valley, are happy that at least some of the corrupt are finally facing justice, a process that the Jammu, Kashmiri and Ladakhi public is united in asking for it to continue.

Another hypothesis is doing the rounds in the Lutyens Zone, which is that the US State Department is active in secret in efforts at getting individuals associated with the chaos of the 1990s and who nevertheless subsequently remained in top positions to regain their lost prominence. If true, the repetition of the policies of the Clinton presidency by the Biden White House would be music to the Sino-Russian alliance. The GHQ Rawalpindi-PLA alliance regards as a top priority the keeping apart of New Delhi and Washington, as does Moscow. Despite the Pentagon understanding the need to have India firmly in the Quad tent, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ventured into the field of human rights during his only visit to India. Before he lectures the world’s most populous democracy on human rights and values, Secretary Austin needs to examine the record of the US and other militaries of NATO in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Iraq. There are countless more atrocities such as the My Lai massacre and many more Lieutenant Calleys who are yet unpunished. Since Defense Secretary Austin seems so concerned about human rights, finding out those within his own country who are guilty of such crimes against humanity and punishing them should be a priority rather than be ignored as they have been for so long. The manner in which the witch hunt against Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange has been carried out by successive US administrations, an approach that is continuing in the Biden administration, does not indicate that the White House or its Secretaries are in any rush to bring the perpetrators of suspected war crimes by troops within the NATO alliance to justice. Secretary Austin has presumably not read the adage about those in glass houses needing to avoid throwing stones, especially in the direction of a country that is essential to the US for the defence of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

In case it is a fact that President Biden is returning to the path of Bill Clinton by pandering to the GHQ Rawalpindi and the PLA in putting pressure on India to act nice with those responsible for terror and bloodshed in what was the state of Jammu & Kashmir, it is probably because of his desperation to secure a unanimous vote among 50 Democrats so that amendments to the filibuster and thereafter the Biden Recovery Act can be passed in the US Senate without the savage cuts demanded by the Republican Party. Given that Senator Mitch McConnell has made no secret of his efforts that would harm the interests of the US public in his effort to render the White House ineffective in matters of policy. It must be clear to the DINOs (Democrats in Name Only) within the US Senate that they are in effect sabotaging the prospects of their own party in 2022 by blocking the Voting Rights and Infrastructure legislation. This will cost them their Senate seats when they next face the electorate in their home states, either at the primary stage or in the subsequent election. There is no need for President Biden to pander overmuch to the unreal agenda of the Left DINOs (and the links of at least one with the Wahhabi International and through that association of worthies, to the Chinese Communist Party) or to the Right DINOs who at the moment seem determined to oppose legislation that most of their constituents favour. The best strategy for the US President would be to cease his futile search for a non-existent compromise and present the legislation he has in mind in full. In case this gets defeated, it will be clear to US voters that their only path towards rescue from a parlous economic situation is by ensuring that the Republican Party gets thrashed in the 2022 midterms. Rather than face electoral disaster in 2022 and two lame duck years through excessive legislative compromise that will ultimately end in failure, President Biden will have the wind in his sails after 2022 midterms through voters reacting to those who sabotaged the Voting Rights Act and the Infrastructure Act during the last two years of his term. This is almost always the decider at the polls rather than the first two. As for security in the Indo-Pacific, he needs to stop Secretary Austin and others from making self-goals during foreign visits that serve only the interests of the Sino-Russian (and the linked Sino-Pakistan) alliance not just in the Indo-Pacific, especially in theatres such as Afghanistan. Although Senator Sanders (as well as three out of four in the “Squad”) are motivated by idealism, this may have led them inadvertently to backing organisations linked to the Wahhabi International who press for policies against those who oppose them, such as PM Modi in India, President Al-Sisi in Egypt and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Such elements, mostly within the Clinton and Sanders factions, seek accommodation with individuals such as Erdogan, who have trampled on the principles of NATO while still remaining part of an alliance that is opposed to their actual allegiance, which is to the PRC-led bloc that is forming across the world. Among the top priorities of the Wahhabi infiltrators into the Biden administration is to use whatever lever is available to distance Washington from Delhi. In India, they are doing the same, working to widen often imaginary faultlines between the Modi and Biden administrations. The US and India partnering to secure the Indo-Pacific and battling the 21st century threat posed by the Sino-Wahhabi alliance would be a nightmare for Pakistan, China and Russia while being essential for the US and India. The Sino-Russian alliance and its satellite Pakistan gain traction with each policy error made by the major democracies, which unfortunately are too many to recount.

The years before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls will be crucial to the future of India. On the Info-Pacific, on Kashmir, on the economy, choices need to be taken that place India on the path towards long-term double-digit growth and the resultant societal stability. The Sino-Russian alliance (operating mainly through the Sino-Wahhabi alliance in India) is a formidable and often invisible opponent adept at dressing up policies that are toxic to the 21st century success of India but presented as essential to either adopt or to retain. There can be no compromise on fundamentals, whether on Kashmir or on the Sino-Indian boundary or on the need to recover PoK and Gilgit Baltistan. Nor on the essentiality of a free, open and secure Indo-Pacific. Any aggression, kinetic or otherwise, by the Sino-Pakistan alliance and the Sino-Russian alliance needs to be met by an Alliance of Democracies united against the threats posed by countries hostile to the very Idea of India or the US as inclusive and prospering democracies.

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