WHY DO OUR NEIGHBOURS HATE US?

The political history teaches us that when a country dominates a region geographically , demographically and economically , the region becomes its backyard. Hence when The United States came up with the Monroe Doctrine in 1823 , no one was surprised . But when a country of India’s size declared a foreign policy based on equality and non interference at the time of independence a few eye brows rose . Nehruvian concept of a free and equitable world order was a revolutionary concept , according to which India would assist its neighbors with all its means in solving their problems without interfering in their internal affairs. Nehru’s vision got its first set back in the war of 1962 and by the time of his death our foreign policy was in disarray. Today if we look around us , we have more enemies than friends in our neighborhood.

so what went wrong? The failure of 1962 and the unprovoked war of 1965 made us realize the futility of an egalitarian foreign policy and the need for self preservation made us assert our stature as the regional power . Pakistan has always seen us as an existential threat , hence it tried to exploit the weakness shown by us during the war of 1962 by invading Indian territory in 1965 making us suspicious of that country’s motive ever since . Hence when the rebellion broke out in the East it was natural for India to support the Mukthi Bahini . The war of 1971 broke whatever trust pakistan had , turning it into our eternal foe . As far as Sri Lanka is concerned we never had a clear policy , we always saw Colombo through a lens that was placed at Chennai . Once we realised our folly we tried to rectify it , but the damage was already done . Bangladesh was supposed to be our friend thanks to our involvement in its birth but with the rise of ziaur Rehman and the Bangladesh National Party we were not able to cope up with the changing scenario and due to our poor judgement we lost an ally . The error in judgement was also the main problem in our relationship with Nepal , which sadly still continues with the madhesi fiasco.

Our failure could largely be attributed to the lack of clear foreign policy doctrine. Once the Nehru doctrine was thrown out we never tried to frame a new one . A country specific approach is one of the steps to rectify our current situation. Using the same yard stick for every country was the biggest mistake as far as our relations with the SAARC countries were concerned. China signing the CPEC  with Pakistan must not be equated with Sri Lanka signing a treaty with China or Nepal planning a Railway line across the Himalayas . Sri Lanka is recouping after a bitter civil war and it needs investments from across the globe , Hence that factor must be taken into consideration while evaluating the Sino-Lankan relation and its effects vis a vis  India.

Next is to evaluate the political situation in a country thoroughly before interfering or lending support to different groups. India’s policy with respect to President Nasheed of Maldives was such an issue . Tit for Tat cannot yield any results , Pakistan supporting separatists in Kashmir must not make us support the balochi cause . A stable Pakistan is more of India’s necessity than of Pakistan itself. A better judgement could help avert many of such crises.

Lastly we must have a better perspective management system. The cause for every ill in any of these countries is often directed towards us . This has much to do with how those people perceive India . This requires more cultural interactions , but sadly it is one sided with Indian culture being imposed on them , which they see as aggression . A better cultural understanding of our neighbours could go a long way in alleviating suspicions and mistrusts.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

SOCIAL MEDIA REVOLUTIONS – WHY DO THEY FAIL ?

If you are familiar with my blog , it would not be a surprise to know the fact that I am not a huge fan of social networking .For me it is a world far away from reality where everyone assume fake identities to fulfill their perversions . It is like a village assembly in a universe of masked men  , where these men shout their throat out for no reason , as nothing could be tracked back to any particular person , Sadly , the proponents of social media are quiet vocal about the democratization their medium have brought about in the society. This platform they say ,have given voices to millions of grievances , resulting in political upheavals against oppressive regimes and autocratic rulers.  What they fail to recognize is the fact that a crowd of masked men without a convergent ideology is nothing short of a herd of wild animals , which when allowed to roam free will first kill others and then start fighting one another resulting in unending strife.

These social media revolutions start with a sane voice (masked though) , who meticulously analyze a situation and raises her voice against what is the root cause of degradation . initially the analysis is shared among the like minded anonymous members  , Later it is picked up by one or many propaganda machines who adapt it to their whims and fancies , hence growing into a movement  , With every additional member the initial idea gets distorted and when the simmering explodes , sane voices are drowned by a roar , one which makes no sense .Though started in Tunisia in 2011 , it was Egypt that took it to the next level with the power of social media being celebrated at the tahrir square , Millions of Egyptians who took to the streets demanding better economic conditions , soon turned into an anti regime protest , culminating with the resignation of  President Hosni Mubarak . The new Muslim Brotherhood government divided the movement right in the middle turning it into two camps – the brotherhood and the secular . Coptic Christians were the first targets , then the Sunnis started turning on themselves , killing each other in the most barbarous of ways . These fissured lines were used by the people at helm of the previous regime ( The Army) to return to power . Though a full blown civil war was averted , nothing special was gained , Syria was not as lucky . President Bashar Al Assad is no Hosni Mubarak , and like his father he is ready for a long drawn conflict .

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Due to the so called “mass involvement” these social media revolutions  tends to get undue coverage in the real media  . It may also be due to the fact that the mainstream media these days finds sanity irrelevant in front of eye balls .Indian elections last year were the most celebrated in the history , with it Facebook and twitter broke new grounds . Live tweets filled with abuses scrolled our tv screens for over 6 months.  If they were to be believed the Indians would have voted NOTA as our Prime Minister , but at the polling stations masks came off and the country elected a government with a clear mandate for the first time in 30 years . India Against Corruption and its leaders fizzled out at  jantar mantar sittings itself leaving behind the AAP . Though started as a platform on social media aam admi party seems have learnt the lessons of responsible governance leaving behind the utopian society it once preached . Today , Mr Kejriwal , according to me is on the right path as he restructures the AAP  into a political party with himself at the helm .

A narrow , purpose driven revolt without an ideological backbone or a charismatic leader is a recipe for disaster , as is the case with Arab Spring . Many competing ideologies will survive under a single banner in the long run only with a leader of excellent caliber or a team of leaders with a shared vision . The social media makes each and every user a leader , who over time become a liability to the whole purpose in hand . They want change but never really comprehend what this actually means to them , frustrations of all sort are directed against those in power , the resulting anarchy leads to a power vacuum  which ultimately destroys itself.

READ MORE:

SEE GANDHI AS A MAN https://valluvanadtimes.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/the-man-behind-the-idol/

A REAL REVOLUTION https://valluvanadtimes.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/manjhis-bihar/

INDIA vs CHINA

the economic expansion of Asia have been giving jitters to the west especially grand old Europe who finds its future global role in jeopardy ,challenged by two Asian giants INDIA AND CHINA. this led to the high phoning and the introduction of whole new word – chindia in the western media. they are seen as super powers in the making ,which will make this unipolar world a multipolar one.

Indian media have been abuzz with  India vs china debates for the last few years.but is this comparison justifiable ?.i don’t think so.both the countries are completely different from one another . at this stage Chinese are far ahead of us in economic terms.it is like comparing Mexico with Germany or china with the united states.

we have just embarked on a trajectory of growth while china was a decade in front in implementing reforms.they had growth rates of over 10% for the past two decades while our growth have never gone beyond 9% and is averaged at 7%.its economy is thrice ours and expanding at a much faster rate.

china is an export driven economy while ours is an inward looking one.this have its pros and cons – we were not  much affected by the global crisis of the past year but china was severely battered.the advantage for china being an export driven economy is the importance that it gets in world affairs.china is the largest trading partner for countries from united states to congo.so  no one can ignore its power.

china is more urban than India.urbanization of china was rapid  mostly in the last decade ,its urban population is over 50% of the population but in India over 70% is rural.Chinese urban populace is expected to grow further to around 70% while India is expected to remain rural in the coming decades.i personally believe in Gandhian principle that villages are the heart of a country but growth is more rapid in an urban set up,while villages grow in a different pattern.its true that the growth of  villages makes the country self-sufficient ,still it takes time much more than an urban area.

Indian economy is service driven while china is basically industrial.so in this front there can never be a comparison.but it is essential that India develop its industrial base because its motto of self-reliance is possible only in that case.china on the other hand must develop its services sector so that it can grow further.

china is a dictatorship while India as we proudly say is democratic though democratic machinery here can be worse than dictatorship.but freedom people enjoy here is unmatched anywhere in the world.we can speak our mind out,gossip about anything and moreover can fight for our rights.though this freedom has not reached to its full extend in the deeper strata of the society still peoples power is enormous. in china cpc is the final word,no one can fight against it,it can take away your property and compensate in the rates it like.this centralization of power have helped the growth .the implementation stage of any project runs into trouble in India due to the people’s power while in china no one dares to question whether it be useful to the community or not.

India is a union of 28 different countries each with its own language,culture and traditions.the only link is the religion but this is also diverse.people belonging to one cultural grouping have zero interaction with others.china on the other hand is a homogeneous society of Han Chinese(though minorities are suppressed),they act and think as one single entity.

therefore the comparison between the two countries is worthless ,though it is a fact that both these countries will be forces to reckon with in the future.china in the immediate while india in a distant one.