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Five Emerging Challenges To Indian Security Could Converge Ahead Of Next Spring’s Elections
It would be irresponsible for India not to monitor them, do what’s needed to mitigate their potential damage, and employ proactive means to avert the worst-case scenario of them converging if there’s a more credible chance of that happening. India can deal with all five challenges on their own, but it’ll become difficult if at least some converge.
India should prepare for the possibility that five emerging challenges to its security might converge ahead of next spring’s elections. In the order that they first arose, these are: 1) electoral violence in Bangladesh; 2) more unrest in Manipur; 3) intensified Anglosphere pressure over the Indian-Canadian dispute; 4) China cutting a deal with Bhutan to obtain control over the Doklam Plateau; and 5) improved Sino-US ties leading to America turning a blind eye towards Chinese moves in India’s Northeast.
Beginning with the first, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Hasina told parliament in April that the US is scheming to carry out regime change against her during January’s national elections. India reportedly pushed back against one of the purported means to this end earlier in the summer, presumably out of concern that violence there could rekindle unrest in Northeast India. Even so, the US’ tacit support for the opposition still emboldened them to riot over the weekend, thus boding ill for the next elections.
The second challenge concerns early May’s outbreak of unrest in Manipur, which has since been brought under control but was exploited by the opposition for electioneering purposes. The European Parliament also meddled in the affair on false “humanitarian” pretexts, which foreshadowed the Anglosphere’s united pressure campaign in support of Canada that followed several months later. Although everything is now calm, it can’t be ruled out that there won’t be a recurrence of unrest, especially early next year.
Third, the “Five Eyes” all took Ottawa’s side amidst Trudeau’s allegation in mid-September that India assassinated a terrorist-designated separatist in Canada over the summer. The Anglo-American Axis (AAA) did so despite this stance threatening to spoil their strategic relations with India. This suggests that those two’s liberal-globalist policymaking faction is regaining its lost influence over its pragmatic rivals and prioritizing their bloc’s domestic political interests at the expense of shared geostrategic ones.
The fourth challenge arose in late October after it became clear that China and Bhutan are on the brink of resolving their territorial dispute in a way that might lead to Beijing obtaining control over the Doklam Plateau that overlooks India’s narrow Siliguri Corridor to the Northeast. If that follows their successful rapprochement, then China might redouble its claims to Arunachal Pradesh after feeling empowered by its newfound military edge over that Indian chokepoint, which risks provoking another border crisis.
And lastly, any improvement in Sino-US ties following the dismissal of US-sanctioned Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu, the successful meeting between their top diplomats shortly after, and the planned one between their leaders at the upcoming APEC Summit could be at India’s expense. The US might turn a blind eye towards Chinese moves in India’s Northeast if it thinks that this could redirect Beijing’s attention away from maritime disputes and thus advance the “greater good” of their rapprochement.
The possible convergence of these five security challenges could begin unfolding in a reverse order of sorts whereby the last-mentioned improvement of Sino-US ties precedes China obtaining control over Doklam from Bhutan after first receiving America’s approval during the planned Xi-Biden Summit. Any intensified Anglosphere pressure on India over its dispute with Canada in parallel with improved Sino-US ties could also signal to China that this bloc might not object to it obtaining control over Doklam.
Bangladesh’s national elections in January will probably lead to more violence considering that which already preceded them over the weekend after the opposition felt emboldened by the US’ tacit support. Washington might refuse to recognize the ruling party’s potential re-election, which could put it at odds with Delhi, especially if the first orchestrates a Color Revolution. The consequent violence could spill into Northeast India, rekindle unrest in Manipur, and spark a crisis ahead of next spring’s elections.
To be absolutely clear, the abovementioned sequence of events might only unfold in part, if at all. Readers therefore shouldn’t wrongly interpret this scenario forecast as a confident prediction of the future. Its purpose is simply to raise awareness of those five security challenges and their possible convergence in order to inspire policies aimed at mitigating their potential damage and averting that worst-case scenario. About the latter, it’s not as far-fetched as some skeptics might instinctively think.
The US’ liberal-globalists have already succeeded in regaining so much of their lost influence over the formulation of their country’s policy towards India that they’ve recklessly risked ruining strategic ties with it out of solidarity with Canada. Installing a pro-American government in Bangladesh and meaningfully improving ties with China are incomparably more important so recent precedent suggests that both might be pursued even at the expense of harming India’s most sensitive national interests.
The first of these goals would expand the US’ regional influence from Pakistan, where it was restored following April 2022’s post-modern coup, to Bangladesh and thus result in applying pressure on India along both flanks. This would punish it for defying demands to condemn and sanction Russia while also gifting the opposition the opportunity to spin a regime change against Hasina as supposedly representing “another geopolitical defeat” for Prime Minister Modi ahead of next spring’s elections.
As for the second, China’s potential obtainment of Doklam would worsen the pressure that India feels along its northern flank together with manufacturing the aforesaid optics for the opposition to exploit for the selfsame purpose of giving them a boost ahead of the upcoming polls. While this could occur independently of any Sino-US rapprochement, in the scenario that one is initiated, then it could serve to redirect Beijing’s attention away from maritime disputes that risk leading to war with Washington.
The case can compellingly be made that the rising liberal-globalist policymaking faction might prefer to reduce the scenario of World War III by miscalculation through such means in exchange for turning a blind eye towards redoubled Chinese saber-rattling over India’s Himalayan territory. They can also spin this “Faustian bargain” as securing the “greater good” of global peace to cover up the gradual restoration of economic-financial ties from which they could directly profit via undisclosed relevant investments.
Additionally, if paired with more intense Anglosphere pressure on India over its dispute with Canada, electoral violence in Bangladesh amidst a US-backed Color Revolution there, and the consequent overspill of unrest into India’s Northeast, the opposition could possibly give the BJP a run for its money. Both the US and China want to punish Prime Minister Modi for their own reasons, which represents yet another convergence and arguably the most significant one for India’s interests if they tacitly coordinate.
A lot can still happen ahead of next spring’s elections, and it might turn out that that only some or even none of these five analyzed security challenges unfold. Nevertheless, it would be irresponsible for India not to monitor them, do what’s needed to mitigate their potential damage, and employ proactive means to avert the worst-case scenario of them converging if there’s a more credible chance of that happening. India can deal with all five challenges on their own, but it’ll become difficult if at least some converge.