REMINISCING THE SECOND WORLD WAR

The run up to the Victory in Europe day saw The BBC and RT go into a nostalgic mode , reminiscing the great sacrifices the British and the Russians did to save the world from evil during the second world war . The self congratulatory tone was hard to miss , but what was more evident was the insecurity of two powers who were slowly getting relegated to the second tier in global affairs. The British cannot be blamed for their anxiety , the United Kingdom is on the verge of collapse with Scotland trying hard to ascertain independence and the United Germany has reemerged as the supreme power in Europe , a position which the British held till the early 2000s. Russia on the other hand is contracting faster than many experts have expected , From the world power it once was Russia is now another Saudi Arabia ( read: a mere energy supplier) with power dwindling even at its backyard (Ukraine) . In such a context all that is left for these countries are the bloated assumption of self worth drawn from history.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

British were the greatest losers in the post war world , Its empire fell apart , the expenses incurred during the war through the various agreements it made with the US like the Cash And Carry agreement and the Lend and lease agreement had made it bankrupt . This huge debt was consolidated after the war as the Anglo American loan which the British paid till 2006 . The greatest humiliation was yet to come in the 90s , when the British were made an American satellite state , with real power being wielded from Washington. 2010s saw Britain fade away completely from the global political scene with the rise of Asia and Latin America . The soft power they once had over the former colonies also dissipated when they started to outgrow their ex colonial masters and assert themselves. But the British are not willing to accept their worthlessness as of yet . Take the commonwealth summit for example , it is held biennially with huge fanfare ( especially in the British Media) with the British Prime minister in all his paternalistic glory heading the British contingent . Sadly most of the member states have stopped taking it seriously . Even the blood brothers Australia and Canada try avoiding this toothless body . From an Indian view point the depth to which the British have fallen could be gauged by the fact that no Indian Prime Minister has visited Britain since 2006 , But the current British Prime Minister was here three times in his past tenure.

Soviet Union was never a power except in the military sense , so when the USSR collapsed Russia inherited a broken economy . The Yeltsin years saw corruption at its extreme and the rise of oligarchs and when president Putin came to power Russia was nothing but a failed state . Thanks to his efforts the economy stabilized and started to grow . Instead of pumping money back into the economy he tried to use these petro dollars to fuel Russia’s military ambitions in the former soviet states . With the fall in oil prices Russia which never tried to diversify its economy collapsed . Instead of rolling back its military spending , Russia started a proxy war in Ukraine which today is eating a large chunk of the Russian exchequer . Another problem that is unique to Russia is that of its falling population . it is expected that Russia could hit the 100 million mark soon and could even fall further . Out of the two Russia is the one with greatest ego and hence the most dangerous . This could be due to the denial prevalent among the Kremlin elite about its fall just in a matter of two decades. Though India still considers Russia an all weather friend , its military spending on Russian Armour is falling and this was evident when prime minister Modi signed the rafale deal with France to replace the aging Russian MiGs.

The European powers are finding it hard to digest their fall from grace in the 21st century , some go the racist way , others the pacifist way , but they never try to understand their limitations and that is the tragedy of the post world war world.

Advertisements

BHARATMALA , SAGARMALA AND CHABAHAR

According to IMF, India will be the fastest growing major economy next year . This will not only raise our International clout but also make us more vulnerable to the changes taking place in our volatile neighborhood. Our biggest neighbor China is facing the biggest economic crisis since its meteoric rise in the 80s and is expected to slow down to sub 7% levels for the first time next year. Though western experts expect a dystopic future , in reality the Chinese one party system could be stretched to its limits . There could be ruthless oppression in Tibet as the communist party would be needing scape goats to tide over the situation , which could easily spill over into India  .Pakistan on the other hand is fighting a civil war with a hydra headed Taliban , which ironically have sympathizers within the government apparatus. A failing state is more dangerous , as it could do anything to take maximum causalities with it as it sinks , which in Pakistan’s case is us.Hence  The proxy war and a porous border are bound to frustrate us more and more in the coming years . Bangladesh , a regional success story is in midst of a showdown between two women , who are in no way in the mood to relent. Nepal and Myanmar are in transition while Bhutan and Sri Lanka are on a path of self discovery. Being the only “bright spot” in the region we must be prepared to face the worst.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bharat mala and Sagar mala are two ambitious projects proposed by the the new central government aimed at enhancing the infrastructure along our land and water boundaries .

The Bharat Mala project plans to build a 14,000 Km long highway along our land border extending from Gujarat to Mizoram on a fast track basis . This is of strategic importance especially along the border with China , which will reduce the chances of a 1962 fiasco from being repeated. It is a known fact that the Chinese are also enhancing the infrastructure along the other side of the border and in many ways this initiative could act as a deterrent for the Chinese. The project is expected to be completed by 2020.

Sagar Mala on the other hand aims at improving the infrastructure along the coast , with ports developed along the modern lines and improved connectivity between them.The modes of communication would include roads, railways, inland waterways and coastal routes. Both these projects aims at garlanding India (Mala) along its peripheries not only acting as arteries for economic growth , but also as a shield to protect us .

CHABAHAR

Yesterday (6 may 2015) Minister for road transport and highways Mr Nithin Gadkari signed an MoU with Iran to develop the southeastern Iranian port of Chabahar for $ 85 million . This project is  expected to increase Indian access to the resource rich central Asia Bye passing Pakistan. Ironically , China is developing the Gwadar port in pakistan , which is 72 km east of chabahar , aimed at turning  it into a naval base in the distant future . With these ports becoming operational in years to come their effect on regional dynamics is something to look forward to.

footnote : With two more ports in its neighborhood it would be interesting to find how Dubai , which is basically the gateway to Iran will fare in years to come.