It’s about balancing China

The geopolitical project of the 21st century

There is a certain clarity in K Subrahmanyam’s arguments:Photo:CNN

The Chinese strategy of dominating Asia, which all other major powers view with concern, needs India to be kept tied down perpetually by a nuclear-armed Pakistan. The reason why liberating India from technology apartheid sponsored by the US is popular with Russia, France, UK, France and Japan is their desire to see a balance of power in Asia. In the 21st century it is not envisaged there will be wars among major powers. But there would be a constant balancing of power. China when fully developed can only be balanced by a billion-strong India if it develops itself. The other major powers of the world have a vital interest in this. Hence, the US nuclear agreement, India-specific IAEA safeguards and NSG waiver.

Will India accept this opportunity and help the world to balance China — a neighbour posing a surrogate nuclear threat to this country — or continue to talk only of US imperialism? India can stand up to US dominance, but it cannot wish away the India-specific nuclear threat emanating from a Chinese-armed Pakistan. [TOI]

9 thoughts on “It’s about balancing China”

  1. i can think of much worse things than being subordinate to uncle sam, like being ruled by a revolving coterie of corrupt criminals [in too many instances, literally].

    quite frankly, i would sleep better if the current american govt. were responsible for my family’s security in india.

  2. Nitin, comment posting via the mobile edition doesn’t work, at least on my Nokia symbian phone.

  3. Oldtimer,

    Yes. It’s a “known issue”. It will (hopefully) be fixed at an upcoming rehaul. For now, your thumbs can enjoy the rest and relaxation.

  4. Mr K Subramanyam maybe has a point. I saw his interview on India tonight with karan thapar last week. he made all the above points there. I agree when he says that this is a political deal between two sovereign countries and not a civil contract between two individuals enforcable in a court of law.

    I even agree that some parties like Pakistan and China have even broken whole agreements and international laws and the US looked the other way so basically if the Americans want to create trouble they don’t need a legal document they will do it anyway and if they feel it is against their interests to act one can even get away with shredding the document and flushing it down the toilet on live TV just like a MSNBC TV anchor recently did with a britney news clip abt her getting out of jail.

    but all said and done lets consider this.

    If Mr K subramanyam is confident that Indian diplomacy will somehow manage to negotiate that political minefield and somehow keep things running smoothly i’am afraid he is wrong. the “wise” Indian negotiators simply “forgot” to include a clause that is a regular feature of every 123 agreement the US has signed with other parties, i.e., “either party will not renege on its commitment citing domestic laws”. considering India’s hard experiences earlier including this clause in the agreement should have been one of the topmost priorities for Indian negotiating side. but it wasn’t and now the country stands vulnerable to future arm-twisting because of that.

    On the other hand many former diplomats are on TV scare mongering that if we walk out of this agreement we will “lose” credibility in the world stage.I get a feeling that this is their usual method to smother opposition. Instead of debating the fine points of the deal they now want to bulldoze it thru by saying that India will “lose” credibility on the world stage if this doesn’t go thru in the hope that this will intimidate the opposition to fall silent.

    Now he also has a strange Chinese angle to his argument.he doesn’t seem to realise or is sidestepping the uncomfortable reality that the current deal actually gives China plenty of pressure points against India most notably in the NSG and perhaps even in the IAEA.

  5. “current deal actually gives China plenty of pressure points against India most notably in the NSG and perhaps even in the IAEA”

    Apollo, post-agreement I am not sure how. There is no UNSC type organization with veto power within NSG or at IAEA – US actually acts as one but not others. China can cause trouble during the negotiations, but that’s a given. One reason, apparently, our MEA is soft on China now with regards Arunachal Pradesh and other issues is to keep China in good humour until agreements are signed with NSG and IAEA. Hence, apparently, also the smooch fest with the Japanese and Australians and others.

    With regards to US domestic law, the whole deal is about changing US domestic law (at least early on). I don’t think the clause you give is valid for this agreement – 123 agreement not an usual foreign treaty signed between two sovereign nations (like say a free trade deal)

  6. Apollo,

    the “wise” Indian negotiators simply “forgot” to include a clause that is a regular feature of every 123 agreement the US has signed with other parties

    You’ll end up with inaccurate conclusions if you only analyse what was “given” away. The wisdom or otherwise of the negotiators, as well as the verdict on the deal itself, has to take into account the net benefit; the “takes” minus the “gives”.

  7. Apollo,

    The opposite of what you say is true. China cannot afford to be the one that vetoes the deal at the NSG, because that would send an unambiguous signal. As long as India was not in the club, it could use indirect ‘pressure points’. Once it’s through the IAEA and the NSG, then China loses that card.
    However, experts said China was unlikely to stymie the nuclear deal and risk pushing Delhi closer to Washington — just when Beijing is seeking to avoid a destabilising confrontation with its rising Asian neighbour and longtime rival.

    “The United States has decided that using India to check and balance China is of more importance than non-proliferation, and that worries China,” said Shen Dingli, a nuclear security expert at Fudan University in Shanghai.

    “But China does not want to push India towards the United States. I don’t think China will stand out to oppose the agreement; it doesn’t want to offend the United States or India.” [IE]

  8. Nitin,

    what was given away was that nearly 2/3rd’s of Indian nuclear capability was placed under the snoopy inspections of the IAEA for “perpetuity”. and on the other hand the “other party” has retained the right to renege on its commitment citing “domestic concerns”. That is why not including that all important clause in the agreeement was an unforgivable lapse.

    Expect this to become an annual circus in the US congress just like the MFN status with regard to China was before it joined the WTO.infact expect such a seasonal circus in Australia too.


    regarding china, u answered ur own question.We are currently being forced to swallow all the chinese insults with regard to Arunachal and recently sikkim too and the gods only know what else is in store for the future. and yes the Chinese won’t openly veto the whole thing they will do it in some other round about way or else bide their time to strike when the iron is hot.probably in co-ordination with the events set rolling at a future date by the non-proliferation ayatollahs in washington and canberra, just like they struck during the distraction of the free world during the cuban missile crisis in 1962.

    If the Indian diplomacy can manage all this contradictions then i’am all for it but given that they even overlooked adding such an all important clause even with all that harsh experience of the past 4 decades. i’am not very confident that they will be able to do it.

  9. Apollo,
    The Chinese have stopped looking back. They have erased Mao from their history books and today the future is their history. And today no one in the West questions China’s pathetic human rights record.

    Today we have everything to look forward to. If we can keep our booming economy booming we have nothing to fear from the West coz they only understand the talk of $$$$$. Let us stop living in fear of the old.

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