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QUAD has to be at the level of NATO for India to be on US sides
Disclaimer: This is an independently written article by the author without allegiance to any political party, ideology or government.
We have been seeing great overtures by the United States towards India. Initially, they started with some sticks but soon realized the folly and now have carrots in both hands. Recall our previous blog on US where we have criticized the manner in which Dep NSA US Dalip Singh was trying to chastise India but soon there were corrections coming from the state department and other places.
The United States has become so sensitive to India that recently when the left oriented Dem congress representative Ilhan Omar visited Pakistan, India took objections both officially and through social media posts. The sentiments were picked by the US and once again conciliatory statements started coming where it was said that the United States does not support private visits of congress persons.
Now we are being told that President Biden will be meeting again PM Modi for the QUAD meeting to take place next month i.e. in May 2022. Just a day earlier secretary of state Blinken has also given a very matured statement (http://samanvaya.org.in/trending/india-developed-ties-with-russia-as-us-couldnt-do-it-earlier-blinken/) and few days back Jeff Smith has said something similar in a discussion meeting in New Delhi (http://samanvaya.org.in/trending/india-and-the-u-s-navigate-their-differences-jeff-smith/).
Meanwhile, the Russia Ukraine crisis is going on and its difficult to predict its outcome or who will be the ultimate winner. The US and allies are supporting Ukraine through arms and funds. Russia has also learnt from her previous mistakes and has realigned its military strategy that can be seen on the ground. We will write about the same separately.
However one thing is clear and that is Russia is considerably weakened by this crisis with Ukraine both in terms of economics and militarily. It can be a lesson for China but as EAM Dr Jaishankar has pointed at some forum that international developments do not guide national decisions and a country will do what it has to guided by local ambitions and politics ( the words are not exact but the meaning is something like it).
We are of the opinion that China has been made to rethink its strategy on Taiwan ( and India of course) post Ukraine crisis. the market reports that are emerging in financial papers suggest that Chinese economy is going through a bad period if not worst. The possibility that Russia and China will come together in the future therefore is more logical as the pressure from the west builds upon.
As the US tries to woo India and bring her on its side, India has a tough choice. Of late everyone including EAM, Finance minister and some other have articulated India’s position very well to the world through the Raisina Dialogue 2022 that concluded recently and press statements.
It will not be easy for India to abandon Russia considering both China factor and reliance of defence arms and equipments. The S-400 is an effective missile shield that is from Russia and will be helpful to India for years for any attack from China. There is a higher version of the same also now under test. Besides there are fighter planes, and other things.
To ditch such overreliance and partnership will not be easy for India and rightly so. Moreover Russia has been a all weather partner for India. India has to wait for the right moment for any decision going forward on joining America and abandoning decades old Russian partnership if at all its considering the same. One other carrot from US can be by bringing the level of QUAD to the level of NATO for asia pacific region in terms of spirit and all included. If this happens it will be too BIG for India to resist. Morever it will help the region very strongly to defend any crisis from China and around. The four partners of QUAD are well placed and strong enough to avert any mis adventure just like NATO has defended Europe. This will happen gradually and can be a fore-seeable target in next 5- 10 years time frame. Meanwhile QUAD can be strengthened slowly and gradually to include some more states.
This will be the ultimate end of a wavering minds, if it happens. We hope by the time somehow Russia also joins the western allies leaving China alone with few of her friends. But then it will not be able to threaten the world as it does now. For America also it will be a big win as it will be able to thwart threat from the dragon and will be able to place itself strongly once again on the world with two treaties , NATO and QUAD and as a leader of both.
The only hitch in this game is if Russia comes out very strongly from this Ukraine crisis which will make India indecisive and wavering. This will complicate things and delay India’s decision to take sides, which we are sure the Americans and EU will understand fairly.
Dr Asheesh Shah
with best wishes
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