Politics: The gathering storm – Gautam Sen

Dr. Gautam Sen“The seditious nominal rulers in Delhi, who are selling the country down the river, are likely to have given some sort of undertaking that would also entail unprecedented betrayal of the Tibetan government-in-exile once the Dalai Lama has left the scene. It is this issue which has always been the real foundation of Sino-Indian discord rather than the border, which was a symptom of it, once China had gained the Aksai Chin it sought for strategic reasons.” – Dr. Gautam Sen 

Nominal Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Real Prime Minister Sonia GandhiThe many-sided collapse of the Indian Union is gathering momentum. The principal cause is the determination of the Nehru-Gandhi clan to remain in power at all cost, even if it means a truncated and battered legacy, i.e., a broken-backed and shrunken country. The other immediate underlying cause of India’s unparalleled predicament is the non-existence of an ultimate national executive authority in the shape of a prime minister. This is the reason that I had argued early in the United Progressive Alliance’s rule that it would have been infinitely preferable to have the Congress president as prime minister. It would have prevented the devastating consequences of the prevalent disconnect between power and responsibility. 

There is nothing personal about the Congress opposition to Narendra Modi. It has everything to do with his threat to their resumption of political power because he virtually assures their political oblivion. Such an outcome is highly likely regardless of whether the Bharatiya Janata Party itself manages to garner enough votes to lead a coalition government. Of course, powerful elements within the BJP national leadership, especially its Delhi cabal, would prefer to remain in Opposition rather than cede primacy to a rank outsider, possibly a person regarded as too humble in origin as well. The collateral damage to India of failing to completely oust the Congress does not apparently perturb them sufficiently. It may be inferred some are scheming discreetly with Congress manipulators to undermine Modi, both evidently sharing disdain for someone regarded as a trespasser. However, they rightly fear he may sweep away the entire dreadful Delhi tweedledum tweedledee detritus that has brought the country to its knees.

Narendra Modi for PMA Third Front coalition, which Narendra Modi’s intervention will surely bring to power, at the very least, even if the BJP fails to emerge dominant, poses an almost equally serious quandary for the incumbent UPA. Such a third front will not be able to resist the temptation to deliver a coup de grace to the remnants of a bloodied Congress cadaver. That would indeed be the politically astute move to secure its own longevity at the Centre and in the states. Besides, some leaders of a possible third front coalition harbour deep animus at the abuse of power by the Congress to keep them in line, in order to retain its stranglehold. 

Many also have indignant memories of the barely concealed contempt of the Congress retinue surrounding 10 Janpath for their social origins and lack of cosmopolitan deportment. It may even be surmised from past experience that despite the manifest venality of some of these political leaders they may be less prone to surrender India to foreign interests. They mostly do not possess the wherewithal to flee to Swiss retreats if the worst comes to the worst and will be obliged to fight their Indian corner. Without a shadow of doubt even Mayawati and Mulayam will be a vast improvement on the pathetic, puppet Manmohan Singh. 

The shocking disarray into which Sonia Gandhi and her dismal crew have cast India needs little rehearsing to illustrate the interconnectedness of outwardly discrete damaging events. The destruction of the Indian economy is the result of massive corruption, prime ministerial inaction, amounting to personal culpability, which ended in policy paralysis. Shockingly, 10 Janpath and its disgraceful family retainers have mobilized barefaced policy gurus from India and abroad to endorse policies that led to the dreadful situation that has befallen India. 

A private money trader counts Indian Rupee currency notes at a shop in Mumbai. The growth versus equity debate is an absurdity of which India’s half-educated news anchors and editorialists have no clue, but incessantly ventilate like possessed parrots. For a long time, it has been widely agreed that trade-offs do exist and have to be managed with a measure of caution and circumspection. It does not mean unrestricted government borrowing to fund politically motivated misspending that adds nothing to productivity and leaks fraudulently in the bargain. 

The symptomatic run on the rupee has made it impossible to conceal the utter ruin of the Indian economy. Predictably, suspect opportunistic remedies are being touted with alacrity, especially encouragement to short-term capital flows that will only deepen structural disjunctures of the Indian economy. Yet, these panicky measures are being hailed for their alleged sagacity, without regard to their troubling implications for long-term Indian economic autonomy. They essentially amount to what a banana republic does when international events impact harshly on a country overwhelmed by its own domestic incompetence. The repudiation of solemn promises on sourcing and infrastructure development in retail FDI is but one example of the treasonous lack of concern for future generations, displayed by a prime minister without either a vestige of credibility or moral integrity left. The foisting of a former IMF chief economist on India looks suspiciously like what may become their own petard! 

The growing evidence of political paralysis and seizure of Indian decision-making is the backdrop to the evident belligerence of its neighbours. These are the circumstances that encourage probing by hostile neighbours to advance goals China & Pakistan against Indiaagainst an enemy. And this is exactly what China and Pakistan are doing in cahoots with each other. In this context, it is highly unlikely that the essentially hard-line Nawaz Sharif is seriously at odds with the historical goals of Pakistan’s military establishment vis-a-vis India though he may be seeking to exercise greater personal control over it.

Differences with the military do not mean serious disagreements over policy towards India that enjoys the support of most Pakistanis, i.e., detaching Kashmir from it and being an effective competitor with it, however forbidding an aspiration. Precipitating tensions through serial ceasefire violations and increased infiltration to cause mayhem are an initial phase before more serious confrontation takes place. Such friction between two nuclear powers, one of them highly unstable, which the world already views with grave disquiet, is the apt setting for inviting international intervention to change the status quo. 

China is also possibly getting ready to cauterize India politically by offering a border settlement that India’s supine political and bureaucratic leadership will find irresistible. This prospect might explain the latter’s duplicitous insouciance and relaxed view of incremental territorial losses to Chinese aggression. A border settlement will be intended to remove India from the Asian equation of opponents to China’s regional dominance that requires accounts to be settled with Japan first and foremost. India’s bonhomie with it has evidently prompted unease in Beijing. The ongoing contemporary aggression is designed to frighten India before its military modernization has taken place, which Chinese defence planners have openly declared will mature around 2017. 

PM of Tibet Lobsang SangayIndeed, one of China’s generals advocated attacking India before that happens, in the presence of a Chinese Harvard scholar who was recommending the charms of Indian democracy to an audience in China. China has apparently worked out which bits of disputed territory along the LAC it would like to have and is making moves to ensure a fait accompli. Changes to the extant LAC status quo being imposed militarily by China will seem paltry in the context of an overall settlement that will nevertheless favour it. The seditious nominal rulers in Delhi, who are selling the country down the river, are likely to have given some sort of undertaking that would also entail unprecedented betrayal of the Tibetan government-in-exile once the Dalai Lama has left the scene. It is this issue which has always been the real foundation of Sino-Indian discord rather than the border, which was a symptom of it, once China had gained the Aksai Chin it sought for strategic reasons. 

In the meantime, a thoroughly besieged Iranian regime, a beneficiary of Indian solicitousness in recent years, has displayed unexpected loathing for it. The vacuity of the implied ingenuity of Indian diplomacy, actually amounting to nothing but self-doubt and a tendency to concede, while feigning an aura of honour, stands embarrassingly exposed. By contrast, Iranian diplomacy is much more hard-nosed than anything India can muster despite Iran’s apparent international isolation. It is also abundantly clear that trifling Gulf statelets harbour nothing but derision for India and allow the Pakistani ISI and their surrogates from India free reign to plot against it from their jurisdictions. And why shouldn’t they, when so many high and mighty Indians avail their banking services to launder loot, purchase garish abodes along the Arabian Gulf coast and venerated Mumbai starlets gyrate before portly local audiences for hard cash? 

India’s domestic insurgencies and political difficulties are another dimension that its enemies have always studied assiduously and helped exacerbate with unstinting support. Maoists, jihadis, counterfeiters and assorted diehard anti-S. P. Udayakumar: Funded by the Church to make war on the Indian State.nationals meet routinely to coordinate their assaults on the Indian state. These assignations occur in Gulf cities, Kathmandu, Dhaka, etc., under the aegis of Sino-Pak agencies who fund and oversee the individuals involved. They have, in turn, spawned human rights advocates, who take up the cudgels on their behalf whenever the need arises. These local anti-Indian surrogates are usually paid activists, often with high-level establishment connections. Some of them have been ideologically brainwashed by academics in respectable institutions abroad at the instigation of their national intelligence agencies, with which many, for example, in the UK, are routinely engaged. 

In the recent past, I read two suspect books on the India-China dispute, patronised by a major publisher and written by Indian authors of modest academic credentials. These stealthily sought to discredit India’s established viewpoint in favour of laboured legal interpretations according primacy to the question of historically “undemarcated” territory and India’s allegedly illegitimate “forward policy”. All of a piece and extremely sinister, yet the incumbent UPA government, besieged on numerous fronts and patently unable to deal with any, remains obscenely fixated on hounding Narendra Modi. And it seems quite indifferent to its cost to a nation in the gravest danger for many generations. – NewsInsight, 9 September 2013

» Dr Gautam Sen has taught Political Economy at the London School of Economics.