India’s Honeymoon With The West Might Finally Be Over
If there’s any silver lining to this, it’s that the Russian-Indian Strategic Partnership would become pivotal for counteracting Sino-US bi-multipolar processes.
The Financial Times cited US sources to report on Wednesday that the FBI allegedly thwarted an Indian plot to assassinate a terrorist-designated Sikh separatist on US soil sometime in the past. According to them, Biden brought it up during his talks with Prime Minister Modi at the G20 Summit, but officials had by then already shared the details with US allies after the killing of a similar individual in Canada in June who Delhi had earlier designated a terrorist as well. They also complained to India back then too.
Trudeau publicly accused India of involvement in that incident shortly after that same summit in late September, which prompted furious denials from that South Asian state’s officials that were then followed by a media campaign focusing on his country’s liberal-globalist excesses. In brief, Canada’s seemingly pristine reputation was tarnished after unnamed Indian sources and reputable experts pointed out how it’s incubated security threats to others for years under “human rights” pretexts.
It appeared for a while that Trudeau failed to generate any meaningful support for his allegations, but then the Anglo-American Axis (AAA) lent credence to them, which shortly thereafter resulted in the entire Anglosphere (“Five Eyes”) uniting against India on this issue. This shift occurred as part of the power play by the US’ liberal-globalist policymaking faction against their comparatively more pragmatic rivals that became fiercer than ever following Prime Minister Modi’s successful trip to the US in June.
The first group believes that India must be pressured on “human rights” pretexts in order to coerce geostrategic concessions from it and ultimately changing that civilization-state’s society, while the second is against meddling in its affairs since this weakens their Chinese-directed strategic partnership. The pragmatists briefly won out in this protracted struggle that entered an unprecedentedly intense phase since the start of the NATO-Russian proxy war in Ukraine, but the liberal-globalists didn’t give up.
Each of these factions’ policies towards India are also influenced by their respective policies towards China. The most aggressive liberal-globalists also want to change that civilization-state’s society, while the moderates among them don’t rule out the possibility of a “convergence” into what some have called “G2”/“Chimerica” that would restore bi-multipolarity. This concept refers to the Sino-US duopoly solidifying its outsized influence in shaping the world order at the expense of others’ overall sovereignty.
As for the pragmatists, they don’t care all that much about changing Chinese society, though the most aggressive among them are indeed interested in regime change even though it’s an unrealistic scenario. Rather, their approach towards China is characterized by continuing those two’s Great Power competition. The aggressive ones don’t ever want to de-escalate this rivalry while the moderates countenance it as a tactical possibility, but both rule out their rivals’ “convergence” scenario.
This insight into these factions’ policies towards China is relevant after the latest Xi-Biden Summit on the sidelines of this month’s APEC Summit in San Francisco, which saw both countries make progress on their incipient thaw. Prior to the Financial Times’ report, it was unclear whether this was a victory for the moderate liberal-globalists or the moderate pragmatists, but it’s now arguably the case that the former won out over their rivals. Before proceeding, here’s a list of relevant analyses leading up to this point:
* 23 September: “Interpreting Blinken’s Remarks On The Indian-Canadian Dispute”
* 1 October: “India’s Top Diplomat Shared Some Dark Truths About Canada”
* 17 November: “The Xi-Biden Summit Might Help Better Manage The Sino-US Rivalry”
Interested readers can review these analyses to familiarize themselves with the previously mentioned dynamics more in detail in order to clarify them if needed. Moving along after sharing these materials, there’s no denying the suspicious timing of the Financial Times’ latest report. It came at least five months after the as-yet undated alleged plot against that US-based but Indian-designated terrorist-separatist, which Washington first shared details about with its allies in June, and a week after the Xi-Biden Summit.
This suggests that the administration did its utmost to prevent any leaks about the alleged plot and surprisingly succeeded despite information about comparatively more important policy matters like US pressure on Ukraine to recommence peace talks with Russia leaking in the interim. After the Xi-Biden Summit, all caution was thrown to the wind, and this same administration that was keeping its cards extremely close to its chest on this issue showed known leakers its hand and let them blab to the media.
The sequence of events therefore makes it seem like the US leaked the details about this alleged plot after progress had been made on its incipient thaw with China during last week’s Xi-Biden Summit. The purpose appears to have been to serve as a goodwill gesture towards China showing it that the US will no longer favor India, thus advancing the grand strategic goal of “convergence” that their leaders might have discussed and therefore amounting to the latest phase of the liberal-globalists’ power play.
The case can also be made that the US tipped off Pakistan about this in advance to some extent seeing as how unnamed sources from that country leaked details to The Intercept about what that outlet described as “India’s death squads” which are allegedly killing Delhi-designated terrorists there. Although that outlet previously published reports that were damning to Pakistan’s de facto military leadership, their source(s) was(/were) either co-opted or shared these claims for “patriotic purposes”.
The first scenario could have seen US-aligned forces there leaking these details to The Intercept out of solidarity with their traditional partner while the second one could have seen someone doing it for the purpose of putting more international pressure on India in advance of Pakistani national interests. Motives aside, the point is that this report preceded the Financial Times’ by just a day, thus making its timing very suspicious and suggesting that it was part of a larger coordinated information operation.
Regardless of whatever readers might believe is behind all of this, there’s no doubt that the optics discredit long-running Western claims from the US’ pragmatic policymaking faction that India must be supported against China out of solidarity with a fellow democracy. The public is now made to think that India is actually a “rogue democracy”, if not already a “rogue state” outright, thus doing away with the emotive pretext for justifying that faction’s envisaged Great Power competition in Asia against China.
This makes India much more strategically vulnerable to what its leadership regards as Chinese aggression in territories under India’s control but which Beijing still claims as its own. It can no longer be taken for granted as comfortably as before that the West would rally behind India in the event of a serious conflict with China over any of these regions, of which there are several, including those that India claims as its own but are under China’s control. The People’s Republic is clearly aware of these new dynamics.
The outcome ipso facto challenges the basis of the Indian-US Strategic Partnership that both have spent the past three decades building per the vision of the latter’s pragmatic policymaking faction, thus representing an unparalleled victory for their moderate liberal-globalist rivals. The last two of the earlier enumerated analyses warned about this scenario wherein the US signals that it would turn a blind eye towards Chinese moves along that frontier to redirect Beijing’s attention away from maritime disputes.
No member of the pragmatic faction, not even the most moderate one, would ever support this. Rather, these new dynamics epitomize their moderate rivals’ vision regarding the “G2”/“Chimerica” scenario of advancing “convergence” for the purpose of restoring bi-multipolarity. The liberal-globalists’ most aggressive members who lust for changing Chinese society will therefore have to settle for changing India’s instead since their moderate sub-faction now wants a New Détente with the People’s Republic.
They’ll be kept busy though since the penultimate analysis that was earlier enumerated regarding the five emerging challenges to Indian security warned that this faction could ramp up its meddling in Manipur, neighboring Bangladesh ahead of January’s elections, and in India ahead of its own in spring. Coupled with the possibility of newfound military pressure from China along its northern periphery, which the West might turn a blind eye towards, India might soon be put on the strategic defensive.
Even if this worst-case scenario doesn’t transpire, India’s honeymoon with the West might finally be over if the pragmatic faction doesn’t soon regain control over this New Cold War bloc’s policy towards that South Asian Great Power from their liberal-globalist rivals. If there’s any silver lining to this, it’s that the Russian-Indian Strategic Partnership would become pivotal for counteracting bi-multipolarity processes as argued in the last of the enumerated analyses and these two about tri-multipolarity here and here.
Readers can review the preceding pieces for deeper insight, but basically, those two are the only Great Powers with the heft and decades’ worth of trusted coordination at the grand strategic level to have any chance of offsetting the bi-multipolar future that the US’ liberal-globalists want to herald. It’s beyond the scope of this analysis to elaborate, however, since its sole purpose was to compellingly argue why India’s honeymoon with the West might be over and what it could mean for the global systemic transition.