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26 October 2009

Geo-Strategic Chessboard: War Between India and China?


by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Since 1947, India has not fully pledged itself to any camp or global pole during the Cold War and as a result was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement (N.A.M.). Since the post-Cold War era that position has eroded. New Delhi has been gradually moving away from its traditional position, relationships, and policies in the international arena for over a decade.


India has been vied for as an ally in the “Great Game” that is underway, once again. This round of the “Great Game” is, however, being played under a far broader spectrum than the one played between Britain and Czarist Russia. In question is the Indian power relationship with two geo-political entities: the first is the “Periphery” and the second is “Eurasia.”

In many Indian circles the colonial bonds with London are still strong and there are views that New Delhi, or at least the Indian elites, are natural members of the Anglo-American establishment. There is also a taint of racial theory attached to these views with links to the caste system and the Indian elite’s Aryan self-concepts. Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” notion and Mackinder’s geo-strategic population model are factors behind these views too. Resource competition, demographics, and economic competition are seen as fuel that will inevitably draw India and China into a clash for supremacy in Asia.

Is it primarily because of geography, amongst other factors, that Indian Civilization (labeled as Hindu Civilization in regards to Huntington’s model) is said to have a conflicting relationship or affiliation with Chinese Civilization (labeled as Sinic Civilization by Huntington’s model) and Islamic Civilization? This theory is short-sighted; if true where are the centuries of fighting between Chinese and Indian civilization? For the most part both lived in peace. The same applied to Islamic Civilization.

Is India reverting to the status quo of the British Raj? India has moved beyond a policy of superalignment. India’s elites believe that to achieve their place in the sun they must buy into the socio-economic and political agenda of the so-called, “Core countries” — the global financial power holders of the Periphery. India’s commitment to the Non-Alignment Movement (N.A.M.) is also dead all but in name. The foreign policy course that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had charted for India has been abandoned. Internally, for the last two decades India has been colonizing itself. Communities and ethnic groups have been played agains one another. These are both cases where local and foreign elites are working hand-in-hand. The ruling elites, with the aid of the Indian government, are appropriating all forms of resourses, rights, and property from countless people to fuel the so-called economic liberalization process with no regard for their fellow citizens. Water and national assets are being privatized and virtual slave labour is, once again, being institutionalized — everything that Mahatma Gandhi and his follower worked hard to eliminate. The free trade deals being struck by the U.S. and E.U. with India are a part of this process and have been integrating India into the global economic order. Hand-in-hand with India being part of a global economic order goes the domination of Eurasia. India is on a serious path of militarization that will lead New Delhi towards conflict with China. In such a war both Asian giants would be losers and the U.S. and its allies the real winners. Due to their flexibility the Indian elite may still change course, but there is a clear motion to exploit and mobilize India in Eurasia against its neighbours and the major powers of Eurasia. This is the true meaning, intent, nature, and agenda behind the so-called “Clash of Civilizations” in Eurasia. The threat of a nuclear war between China and India is real in the words of the Indian military, but what is important to realize is that such a confrontation is part of a much larger series of wars or a wider struggle between the powers of Eurasia and the nations of the Periphery, led by the United States.

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