India’s relations with Russia and China are deep, wide and old. Russia is a major supplier of military equipment to India. Again, the country imports the most products from China. As a result, can India really challenge the United States in the South China Sea?
Washington has termed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US as a meeting between the leaders of the world’s two largest democracies. During Modi’s visit last month, the leaders of the two countries also declared themselves ‘closest partners’. But how will they be as partners? How could it be?
US President Joe Biden has claimed that the principle of his administration is to protect democracy. nice talk But what happened in Washington is the opposite. The man whom the Americans made so public last month is actually steadily undermining India’s democratic foundations.
Of course, it’s no surprise who America chooses as friends. Very ‘impressive’ people are fostered by the US government as friends. For example Shah of Iran, General of Pakistan. Ziaul Haq, Afghan Mujahideen, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, South Vietnam’s dictators of some ‘gaanye mane na aap molal’ group and Augusto Pinochet of Chile. America’s foreign policy is pretty much like that—democracy for them and dictatorship for their black friends.
Modi cannot be included in this party. India is much bigger than him. India will see him off one day. The question is, when? And in exchange for what?
India does not have a dictatorship, but neither does it have a democracy. Modi leads a majoritarian, Hindu nationalist, elected autocracy. The goal and purpose of this system is to impose strict controls on the most diverse country in the world. This is the face of the country during elections. Elections are just around the corner, and this is the most dangerous time. It is a time of murder, a time of lynching and a time of herding a section of society.
The friend America is actually nurturing and empowering is a dangerous man. Dangerous not only as people; Rather, he is a man who wants to bury the world’s most populous country in an ark.
Questions to Modi at the White House and reactions from devotees
How democratic is Modi, almost never a press conference as Prime Minister? As much power as the US has to persuade Modi, they use everything to appease him. Only then did Modi agree to come to a press conference in Washington. He agreed to take two questions. One of them was done by Sabrina Siddiqui, the White House reporter of the Wall Street Journal . The question was what his government was doing to prevent discrimination against minorities, especially Muslims. This question should have been raised by the White House in the context of humiliating treatment of Muslims and Christians in India. But the Biden administration didn’t, they pushed the question to a reporter. And all of us in India were holding our breath.
Modi fell from the sky after hearing the question. It is as if he does not understand whether this question should be asked or not. After that, he poured out the bagful of comments he had brought to Washington from India. “Democracy is our religion. Democracy runs in our veins. We live in a democracy. There is no discrimination in our country’ and so on.
The mainstream media in India and Modi’s huge fan base reacted to this as if Modi had dropped the ball. And those who did not agree with this saying, they came out with something to be assured like ‘where you see ash, you will see it’. (‘See Biden’s attitude? Totally hostile’ etc etc.) I appreciate this hypocrisy. Think if Modi was confident and told the truth! His hypocrisy gave us a headache, no matter how ragged and sleazy it was.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cheerleaders and Hindu nationalists attacked the journalist mercilessly on Twitter. They portrayed Sabrina as a Pakistani Islamist hater with an anti-India agenda.
Finally, the White House condemned the harassment, saying, “This behavior is antithetical to democratic values.” Whatever the White House tried to cover up with some glitter, the incident came out in an embarrassing way.
Sabrina didn’t seem to understand what she had gotten herself into. However, this does not apply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the White House. They knew exactly who they were getting the red carpet for.
What does the Biden administration not know about Modi?
They know that Modi has been accused of his role in the 2002 Gujarat massacre. A thousand Muslims were killed in that incident. They also know that Muslims are beaten to death in public at regular intervals. A member of Modi’s cabinet again garlanded the killers. They may not be aware of how Muslims are being segregated and pushed to a corner of the city.
They may also know how opposition political party members, students, human rights activists, lawyers and journalists are being harassed. Some of them are in prison for a long time. Attacks by police and Hindu nationalists on universities, rewriting of history texts, banning of films, closure of Amnesty International in India, raids on BBC offices – they should know everything.
They should not be unaware of the no-fly list of rights activists, journalists and critics of the government, or the harassment of Indian and foreign teachers and intellectuals.
India is now ranked 161 out of 180 countries on the Freedom of Journalism Index. The best Indian journalists have been forced out of the mainstream media. A government agency will decide whether reports and opinions published in the press are false or misleading.
The US should have known about Kashmir, where communications were suspended for months in the first half of 2019. This period of disconnection is the longest for any democratic system. Journalists in Kashmir are being harassed, arrested and interrogated. In this 21st century, no one is supposed to live the way they are living with a boot on their neck.
They should have known about the Citizenship Amendment Act passed in 2019, which blatantly discriminated against Muslims. It was interesting to know how the movement died down after dozens of Muslims were killed in Delhi the following year. (Coincidentally, when this happened, the then US President Donald Trump visited India, he did not utter a word about it).
They should also know that, while they are basking in Modi’s praises, extremist Hindus associated with Modi’s party have written ‘X’s’ on the doors of Muslims in a small town in northern India, threatening them to leave the area.
The truth must be spoken in the mouth of the mighty—it is time for us to retire from this apocalypse. The powerful know the truth better than we do.
Above all, the Biden administration should know that this lavish reception and false flattery is worth more than gold to Modi in the 2024 election. The strange thing is that in 2019, Modi openly campaigned for Trump. At a large gathering of immigrant Indians in Texas, USA, he asked the crowd to stand up for Trump. His slogan was, ‘Ab Ki Bar, Trump Sarkar!’ (Trump’s government is needed again).
Still, Biden did his best for one of the most divisive characters in modern Indian politics. But why?
Former President Barack Obama’s interview with Christina Amanpour on CNN can enlighten us in this regard. There is good reason to believe that this interview was also planned by the White House. He was asked how the US president should deal with Modi, who is considered by many to be an ‘authoritative and single-minded’ man.
In response, Obama said, ‘The US president has to consider economic, geopolitical and security issues. We hear from India. And all I hear is, oh China. They are stupid.’
Obama also said that if minorities are not protected, India will break into pieces at some point. This time he also became a victim of trolls in India.
If the President of the United States has the opportunity to consider the national interest in dealings and dealings with other countries, he should show that courtesy to other countries as well. So the question is, how can India be a friend of the United States?
How much will India take China’s challenge?
Washington’s top representative in East Asia said they want India’s cooperation to increase patrolling in the South China Sea. The situation has been tense for a long time as China claims this region of the South China Sea as its own. Till now India is monitoring the situation. But will they risk getting involved in this game?
India’s relations with Russia and China are deep, wide and old. About 90% of the equipment used in India’s military is supplied by Russia. 70% of the air force’s equipment, including fighter jets, is made in Russia. India is now the largest buyer of Russian crude oil. India bought 2.2 million barrels (2.2 million barrels) of oil from Russia even last June, going beyond its decision after the US imposed sanctions on Russian oil.
India imports most of its products from China. It is difficult for him to truly challenge China. India and China cannot really be compared. Either economically or militarily. China has occupied thousands of square miles of Himalayan Ladakh over the years. Although this region is claimed by India as sovereign. Here the Chinese soldiers are staying in the camp. Bridges, roads and other infrastructure have also been built to connect China with the region. Apart from banning Tik Tok, the Modi government’s behavior with China has been vitu and minmin.
How can India be an ally of the United States in a dispute with China? The United States will not be a battlefield in this case. They do not have to pay any price except to escape from the battlefield in a helicopter as a loser or an accomplice of evil. But we have to look at old friends of the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The situation in the South China Sea is getting worse. But India, its allies and its enemies have all taken refuge in a tight envelope. We have to be very careful where we step, which way the boat floats. Everyone should be careful.
● Published in the influential US daily The New York Times . Translated by Sheikh Sabiha Alam .