The conflict zone between great powers is slowly and slowly inching towards India. From Syria, the threats are now heating India’s western frontiers in Iran. On eastern fronts of India, South China sea has already become wrestling ring of great powers. In South, Indian ocean is witnessing heightened activities of great power navies. Intense game to create a toehold in Sri Lanka is already on.
A peaceful North and North East protected by Himalayas, is disturbed again in Kashmir. The possibility of great power game forcing govt to bifurcation of Kashmir can not be ruled out. Though amendments to article 370 were required for better integration of Kashmir with Jammu and rest of India, but move to bifurcate Kashmir in hurry and that also at wrong timings indicates some serious disorientation. There is no doubt, Kashmir has once again becomes part of great power conflict pulling USA and China in the region.
After WW II, the world moved into two power blocks leading to a state of conflict called ‘Cold War’. With collapse of Soviet Union, the world shifted into uni-polar state with USA as single dominating global power. Now the entry of rising China and return of Russian power has created a state of new great power conflict.
During cold war, the conflict lines between two powers, ran in Europe and part of West Asia. But in new great power conflict state with China making an entry, the focus has shifted to Asia. From West Asia to Indo-Pacific the region is slowly and slowly becoming unstable. From Iran to Kashmir to South China Sea and Indian Ocean, Indian frontiers are becoming more and more volatile.
In domains of currency, trade and cyber space, the wars are already being fought with increasing intensity day by day. New frontiers in space are opening up.
US inability to fight a multi-front war in this new great power conflict in Asia, increases geo-strategic importance of India. India holds the key to switch strategic balance in emerging great powers wars. Naturally all three major players, USA, Russia and China wants India on their sides or to be neutral.
Though Russia and China seemingly appear to be strategic partners but how far Russia is willing to move along with China is questionable? The rise of Chinese power is a natural threat to Russia with risks of she losing control over far east.
Clear intentions of EU to distance themselves from emerging great power war, limits US options. Germany’s banking system is already under attack from USA. It forces USA to look for new allies. Pakistan’s loyalty to USA are doubtful. Old ally turned enemy Iran, is giving sleepless nights to USA. Strong Russian presence in middle east backed by China is making options for USA very very difficult. India is only hope for USA.
What are options for India? Shall it steer herself from trouble as EU is doing or shall she shall take sides? Can vulnerable India bear pressure and be neutral in great power war? If India needs to take sides then what are Indian options?
There is no doubt that conversion of great power game to state of great power conflict has all chances of turning into great power war? This time it is Asia and not Europe. With current indicators and trends, it looks after 2027 onward, the world will move into a stage of great power war. Can India survive this emerging threat? This is the question which needs serious debate and preparation for survival?
India has no choice except fight war for survival. Surly India doesn’t want to get sucked into the war in position of disadvantage. It is only and only indigenous military power and not acquired, which can steer India through this upcoming catastrophe.
Unfortunately India is too vulnerable and seems to be joining war with USA creating a balance with Russia and EU. But is that a correct Path? Is India prepared? Is Indian Military Power gives her enough strength to deal with big brothers from position of respect or she is exposing herself to be bullied into alliance? The military power clubbed with economic and social strength will only play a significance role in Indian survival.
Unfortunately, growth of Indian military power is under serious check not from foreign pressures but coup phobia infested political leadership and bureaucracy. The mistakes of pre 1962 are being repeated when police leadership is playing more dominating role over ignored military leadership. Unreliable foreign military experts, foreign intelligence agencies and foreign power centers are getting more attention to ears than own domestic military expertise. If not corrected, the repeat of 1962 is inevitable.
It is shocking that Indian military experts are not even being consulted on key issues which have very serious military implications. One recent example is amending article 370. From military point of view, right time to take such step was in Dec before snow fall. Taking such step just before Eid and that too at a time when Pakistan can use open passes to infiltrate, is a highly inappropriate. Worst, Infiltrating Zones along LOC have not been handed over to army declaring emergency in that region under Defence of India Act. Army is being treated as untouchable and suspected unpleasant partner. A big mistake is being committed to make an ex IPS officer as Lt Gov of already volatile and shell shocked state sending a avoidable message of rise of a police state in a manner as Hitler did. After a much required shock the people surely need healing therapy with loving, assuring and caring arms.
A political decision, which has serious military implications not implemented in right military way carries a huge risks of disastrous failure.
At a time, when world is heading to a state of great global war, India can not ignore right military advice as due in any democracy. Unjustified ‘Coup Phobia’ may proves to be disastrous. India could survive 1962, but there is no assurance of she not crumbling under pressures of great power wars unless prepared for it. It is only military power which can save India. Are we prepared? Let us act professionally.
The Author is an ex army officer and peace & warfare expert. He is chief editor of Fauji Reporter and Managing Director of The Military Chamber ( www.militarychamber.org ) He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org