By Dr Subhash Kapila
India perceptionaly emerges tall in 2021 resulting from the global geopolitical dynamics in play in the Indian Subcontinent. India emerging geopolitically tall in the global geopolitical calculus is recognition of its political stability, its economic resurgent growth and its power-packed Indian Armed Forces, capitalisd under PM Modi.
India’s power potential as a Major Player in global affairs and as a vital ‘Swing Player” in global balance of power came into play during PM PV Narasimha Rao’s tenure but not capitalised until the period 20i4-2020 with the dynamic impetus being provided by leadership of incumbent Indian PM Narendra Modi both economically and militarily.
Global geopolitics in giving enhanced recognition to ‘New India 2021’ is not distracted by the domestic demonising of the incumbent Prime Minister by fractious Opposition political parties combine of political dynasts &Leftists derelicts mouthing externally inspired narratives of China and Pakistan.
Finally, after discarding 70 years of Non-alignment and Strategic Autonomy’ shibboleths, India has learnt to play the global geopolitical power-play to its advantage.
The aim of this Paper is to highlight the momentous geopolitical twists that have developed in India’s favour, visibly so as the year 2021 dawned.
China’s and Pakistan’s Swift Military Climb-downs against India in Early 2021—Geopolitically Impelled
China’s virtually overnight agreeing for speedy military confrontation after eight months of obdurately maintained aggressive postures last month in Eastern Ladakh was not impelled by some ‘Divine Revelation” as asserted by me in my last SAAG Paper on the subject. It emerged from China realising the heavy geopolitical weightage in favour of India after China’s demonstrated military recklessness in Eastern Ladakh, South China Sea and Taiwan and China’s sordid export of China Wuhan Virus19 worldwide globally perceived as a virtual crime against humanity.
China was looking for a break in United States Trump Administration ‘Hard Line’ policies against China under President Biden. That has not happened so far as yet. China’s global political isolation is likely to continue.
Pakistan within a week or so after China’s military climb down in Eastern Ladakh followed suit by agreeing to issue a Joint Statement with India between their respective Director Generals of Military Operations for honouring the Ceasefire Agreement 2003 which the Pakistan Army had flagrantly dishonoured from about 2008 onwards. This had virtually resulted in daily artillery duels and border firings escalating tensions to ignition points.
Here again, Pakistan Army had to bow to a combination of superior geopolitical forces perceptionaly stacked against it in the form of China temporising with Pakistan’s arch enemy—India, in Eastern Ladakh, United States under President Biden not expectedly falling head over heels for Pakistan, and Russia stepping back a wee bit from its new found fawning over Pakistan.
United States Geopolitical Assessments under President Biden Signal Primacy to India in Indo Pacific Security Template
Giving primacy to India as a vital strategic partner of the United States in maintaining the security and stability of Indo Pacific Region has been asserted by US President Joe Biden on assumption of office.
Consequently, what logically flows from the above assertion is that the momentum of integration and institutionalisation of the US-India Strategic Partnership achieved under President Trump would continue. Nuance may differ temporarily but the value and worth of this Strategic Partnership will prevail overall.
The above necessarily translates into United States according primacy to India’s strategic sensitivities on China’s intrusiveness in the Indian Subcontinent, its strategic nexus with Pakistan and Pakistan Army’s military adventurism along the LOC emboldened by China’s strategic patronage.
The above also would implicitly concede India’s role as the Regional Power of the Indian Subcontinent. It should be a sobering message for India’s smaller neighbours some of whom attempted to play the ‘China Card’ against India
Russia’s Revision of its South Asia Geopolitical Perspectives in 2020
Regular readers of my SAAG Papers of the last five years or so would be able to grasp how Russia under strategic peevishness of concretising of US-India Strategic Partnership and also under China’s influence started tilting towards Pakistan——geopolitically in terms of a visible China-Pakistan-Russia Trilateral and military weapons and equipment sales to Pakistan Army.
Geopolitical realities dawned on Russia of its ill-advised step under influence of foreign policy advisors like Kabulov and what India witnessed in 2020 at the height of India’s military confrontation with China in Eastern Ladakh was the alacrity with which Russia agreed to sell India with Russian planes, tanks and other military hardware, notwithstanding its Strategic Nexus with China.
Informed sources also assert that Russia was not aggreeable to China’s secret parleys with Russia to stay neutral on the ongoing Eastern Ladakkh military confrontation with India.
India’s Naval Predominance in in Indian Ocean as Guarantor of Global Naval Security
Geopolitically and strategically the Indian Ocean security has in recent years acquired salience even above the Pacific Ocean not only for the United States and Western Pacific nations but also for European Union and NATO countries in relation to China’s maritime expansionist plans.
Despite China’s marked naval intrusiveness into the Indian Ocean in recent years, the Indian Navy is the predominant Navy in the Indian Ocean not only by the professionalism and capacity of the Indian Navy but also by the geographical maritime configurations endowed by the Indian Subcontinent.
Globally, there exist weighty perceptions that if China Threat has to be effectively contained or checkmated then India’s naval predominance in the Indian Ocean is a strategic pre-requisite.
Joint naval exercises with the Indian Navy by United States and individual NATO Nations navies and the firm shape underway to the QUAD Multilateral Maritime Initiative are strong pointers towards this aim.
Capitalisation of India’s Subcontinental geopolitical worth and predominance and its emergence as a Major Power should be India’s ‘National Narrative’ and needs to be recognised as a bipartisan political national aim.
In the ongoing global geopolitical power-play India’s salience as a ‘Swing Power’ would come into marked focus as democratic nations of the Free World raise their expectations of India to ‘Act as a Vibrant Existential Counterweight to China’s military expansionist impulses?