China, USA and Indian Policy Response.
The One Belt One Road initiative by China is an initiative that helps China in manifold ways. First as the Chinese export markets gets stagnated, this project will create new markets through economic development that continues buying Chinese manufactured products and keeps the Chinese economy chugging ahead. Second, it helps China to extend its Area of Influence (AOI) through export of its Culture and Capital. It is also using hard power by following Carrot & Stick Policy to expand its AOI. At times it uses a stick against countries like Vietnam, Philippines and Mongolia by sending its navy and blocking vast areas of South China sea, building new islands and installing missiles and building runways for military aircrafts thus creating unsinkable aircraft carriers. It also used Economic Blockade against Mongolia to get assurance of not allowing Dalai Lama in its territory. Similarly, it is using carrot of Defense export and Infrastructure developments for countries like Pakistan, SriLanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and African nations. China sees the World from a SP2 (Super Power 2) perspective and expects the world to accept it and USA as two super powers in the world which will create rules and regulations for all other nations related to Trade, Defense, Development, Energy, Health, Cyber Security, etc. China, in order to achieve same is using Narender Modi’s “Neighborhood First” policy. It feels, if it can claim the position of sole power of Asia, it can automatically claim the SP2 status. All its policies are designed towards same including the OBOR & related Carrot & Stick. These Policies and actions are not only giving China the desired response that it is trying to generate in order to cement its place on SP-2 Podium, but also is making it feel that by the time the clock of history reaches 2050, it will be only Super Power on Earth and the world will bow down to its economic & military might.
USA being the sole Super Power is still unable to move out from the concept of lavish expenditures. Economics as a subject feels funny when we find that Dollar is consistently making new highs against most currencies when fact remains that The USA debt burden is so high (106.71% of GDP for 2016 as per Wikipedia) that it will take decades to be a debt free nation. The nation out of “Fear of Nothing” goes and bombs countries like Iraq, Syria, etc and is one of the most important reasons behind immergence of Islamic Terrorism. Had Iraq not happened, we probably wouldn’t have seen Al-Quida or ISIS, neither we need to see countries after countries getting added to the list of “Failed Nations’. Being a democratic nation, it should have tried finding peaceful solutions in a democratic manner to world problems, rather its ego made it choose military intervention which resulted in reactions in the form of AL-QUIDA, ISIS, etc. In this scenario, came the election of Donald Trump who is expecting to snatch the title of “Factory of World” from China to USA and thus make world to consume American goods. He is not ready to treat the core problems of American economy. Rather he expects to force people consume an American good produced at $ 100 which is manufactured at $10 in India / China.
In the current world situation explained above USA is supporting India’s desire to be member in various world bodies. It is also supplying India with various defense equipments that support Indian Philosophy of Minimum deterrence. As a quid-pro-quo it expects India to support it in its policies that can stop China in attaining SP-2 status and to show a blind eye to countries it invades for “Fear of Nothing”. China on the other hand expects India to be sensible to its territorial claims by not saying a word related to South China Sea or Tibet but it can always say Kashmir is a disputed Territory, can build CPEC passing through Kashmir & its troops can always violate Indian borders at Ladakh, Arunachal and even in Uttarakhand. China expects India to declare Dalai Lama (who is a revered spiritual leader) as a Terrorist and not entertain any Uighur leaders, but it has the right to support Pakistan by putting a veto and saving Masood Azhar – founder of UN designated Terrorist Group Jaish-e-Mohammed from being designated as a Terrorist himself. China expects India not to supply any weapon like Brahmos to Vietnam but it feels it has right to give Nuclear Bombs and ICBM know how to Pakistan.
Faced with these expectations and two poles with very different views about world & power India has always remained confused while deciding its policy response. English language has a very good saying that can help India decide its response. It says “God helps those who help themselves”. India is never taken as an important factor in Chinese policy nor in American policy, though Govt Of India and media of our nations feels good to think otherwise. We need both a strong economy, a strong defense and a strong attitude to be counted. We need to reach No.3 position in terms of Economy and Defense strength by 2030 and that should be guiding all our policies. As a response to OBOR India can develop a Highway and Rail connectivity of 20,000 KMs joining its entire border region running from Ladakh through Bihar, Nagaland, Odisha, Karnataka to Kashmir. We can call it One Nation One Road (ONOR). It will not only enhance connectivity but will also integrate the nation in every way of life and help in creating a real life single market that only GST might fail to achieve. To rival CPEC we can create Indian Economic Corridor (IEC) – a Super Highway and infrastructure project with Power Plants, Various manufacturing facilities starting from Defense to Mobile & computer hardware, plastic, Cement & Steel, etc. It will be a single road chain that joins Internal state Boundaries of all such states those have either International or sea borders with all sea ports. This will create a commercial corridor that is located in heart of India and can support its economy through job creation, infrastructure development and seamless connectivity. Making a policy choice that supports ONOR & IEC will not only propel Indian Economy but will also create it as a manufacturing super power that Modi govt is trying hard to achieve. Also creating defense manufacturing will save forex and build much needed independence in defense equipments. At least India will be spared the embarrassment of Marching Indian troops with foreign machineries in front of foreign guests on Republic Day. With success of these India will be in a situation to claim its rightful place in world economy and Govts around the world who are already In love with Bollywood & Indian democracy will also start to come within Indian sphere of Influence.