Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

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brihaspati
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Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 00:05

The Role of the periphery and the Centre:

We have had three recent significant elections in the neighbourhood around India : Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In all three countries there were apparently not entirely unexpected or unforeseen but "revolutionary" changes in "governments", although it will not immediatley be clear as to whether the nature of the states or the regimes concerned have had matching changes or not.

I think that considering India as the core geopolitical centre of the subcontinent, the role of the periphery - Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikiistan, China and Tibet, Nepal, Bnagladesh, Myanmar, SriLanka is not being seen as yet on any BR forum comprehensively - in the sense of interconnections, and strategic contiguities. I am proposing that increasingly, this periphery is becoming significant, and collectively is having a significant strategic impact on the core - India.

What is happening in the periphery is now affecting India's national agenda significantly, yielding issues that were relatively unimportant in the public discourse previously and hence electorally and therefore strategically unimportant (external Jihadi terror) for the main processes inside the core. India's strategic reaction to subcontinental issues so far has been defensive, mainly static, and reactive. Increasingly India as the core is being forced to move from this defensive/reactive position towards interventionist/active/proactive roles.

Specific Questions :

(1) How far will the periphery develop new interconnections among themselves with respect to the core?
(2) How far will the core's existing strategic thinking need to change with respect to the periphery as a comprehensive unit?
(3) What should India's strategic thinking be about the future of the area currently known as Pakistan?
(4) How will (3) be related/affected/affecting the rest of the periphery?
(5) Is an Afghan front of war against terror opened by the core strategically necessary and beneficial when thinking in terms of the entire periphery and not just about Pakistan?
(6) Can a consistent policy for the entire periphery be developed with long term strategic goals not just for the internal territory of the current core but also for the entire periphery that leads to a sutainable setup?

In game theory, cooperative or non-coorperative players compete with each other to maximize their payoffs, and under very general conditions it can be shown that optimal equilibrium exists such that no player can gain by changing their strategy. This of course assumes that everyone plays the same game and under the same rules. Is it possible to emulate such a strategic scenario for the subcontinent as a whole and not just for isolated countries. I am proposing the primary model of core versus periphery with a greater concentration on the interrelationships within the subcontinent to have a greater focus "within" than in the "Great Game" thread.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 00:23

To start off, Nepal, Pakistan and Bnagladesh all have had elections which have returned "popular" governments from the hands of "authoritarian" regimes. In all three India has tried to play a direct or indirect role in "promoting" democracy. In two of these, Nepal and Pakistan, popular elections have returned consistently hostile to India political interests. What happens with the AL in BD is yet to be seen in spite of common assumptions that AL is "weaker" towards India. Current military attitudes and the prevailing mood will see any "collaboration" with India as capitualtion, and the AL government may have to walk very cautiously and may in fact play a quite "stand-offish" role as part of domestic policy. We are not very sure about the interconnections between the military forces of these three countries, and how far they themselves or third powers like China, UK, or the USA plays a role in coordinating the three from outside. The role of Norway in Sri-Lanka w.r.t to the Tigers is also controversial. Myanmar's complicated relationship with BD is being managed for collaboration and conformity by China. China's impact on BD is well known, and China's role in coordinating Pak, Nepal, BD, Myanmar have to be tackled by India. In fact Sri Lanka and BD have recently tried to rejuvenate their "strategic relations". Given Maldives has recently started down the "Sharia" line, and given hints of "piracy", this makes a dangerous chain running through from China, Nepal, BD, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Karachi. The spatial dimension to the problem is quite mind-boggling but not perhaps unexpected given the importance of encircling India.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby satya » 31 Dec 2008 00:26

Indian Sub-continent/ South Asia always had place for only one power center whenever another competitive center had tried to come up or this only center has become weaker it had always lead to chaos in the whole sub continent . Road to peace & prosperity always require one & only one power center for the whole sub-continent . Am i right in this assumption ? Any comments............

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 00:45

Indian Sub-continent/ South Asia always had place for only one power center whenever another competitive center had tried to come up or this only center has become weaker it had always lead to chaos in the whole sub continent . Road to peace & prosperity always require one & only one power center for the whole sub-continent . Am i right in this assumption ? Any comments............


Only one power centre seems the last time to have been during the Mauryas - extending to over Afghanistan. Extreme southern tip and Sri Lanka were still independent. Subsequent mega-empires and strongest power centres appear to be gradually diminishing in size - the Kushana empire, then the Guptas, then Harsha and briefly the Palas/Rashtrakutas. The Sultanate was not far better, and the Mughals went back briefly almost to touch the Mauryan extent - but trouble was constantly breaking out - and there were large parts where the Mughal writ did not run.

The Mauryas were probably the only ones to bring the entire subcontinent into a single unit - but this happened under the first three emperors who definitely followed Chanakyan policies. The Mauryan state also appear to have actively engaged in "state capitalism", harsh penalties.

Will it be possible to copy the Mauryas in a modern format?
Last edited by brihaspati on 31 Dec 2008 09:19, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 01:20

while the operational details of the troop deployment in Afghanistan is being worked out on the thread for it, is it actually possible to think of the strategic angle to Indian presence on the Afghan side of the boder with Pakistan. My points had been

Even though this could be desirable for US, we can no longer pretend that by not engaging the QaedaTalebPaki we can reduce our chances of becoming targets of Islamic terror. The US in any case will push on to keep control of North-Eastern Afghanistan - as its main geopolitical thrust was to prevent Russia+China moving onto the middle east in their bid to reach the oil and tropical Indian Ocean. I would even go as far as to speculate that the second war on Iraq was actually a diversionary tactics to isolate and protect Saudi Arabia from this Sino-Russian south-western directional down-move and actually gain a forward base in the tactically significant North -east Afghanistan, where it can prevent the joining up of Sino-Russia with Iran. India can tag along with a specific strategic aim of deriving maximum geo-political advantage for its own long term plans.

By joining the "fight against terror" India drops political/foreign policy problems in appearing to attack Pakistan. It will then be attacking "stateless" terror, not any particular "nation". Further Indian presence in the Pashtun lands bordering Pak, can be a good test of the theory that Pashtun "nationalism" is the main driving factor behind supporting the Talebs, and a "promise" of aiding in Pashtun "nationalism" can wean them away from the Talebs.

Indian activity in this region, at one stroke, brings the POK, the Chitrali "non-state actors", the Talebs as well as Pakistani bases within Indian striking range. India can actually split the Pak forces into two - East and West. When opportunity arises, this position can be used to surround Pakjab in a pincer coming down from north and moving up from the south from India that also cuts off entrance to the POK. This also isolates Sind and Baloch, and properly played out political declarations of support or recognition for an independent Baloch state within Pak occupied Baloch should create a good barrier of support reaching Pakjab from the South.

Ultimately the bigger threat of China coming in through the Karakorums, can be reversed by this positioning. The Talebs could be shipped to North East of China to split the Red Army in two different widely separated war arenas when Tibet is activated simultaneously.

It will need long term commitments to the Pashtuns, the Balochs - what will be the prices to pay on each side?

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby satya » 31 Dec 2008 01:37

Brihaspatijee


If i am not wrong Mauryan Empire flourished with complete assimilation of existing kingdoms & surrounded by weaker states forming its periphery .Both these processes went hand in hand , for better assimilation with sole existing power center making it the only option alongside weaker kingdoms at its frontiers allowing smoother assimilation . Unfortunately for present time Indian Republic our neighbor specially on the eastern border isn't weak , a possible correction can happen if Tibet & other regions adjoining our frontier becomes unstable so as to allow the buffer of weaker states allowing a better assimilation to happen .
In present times , only European Union comes near the Mauryan Empire satisfying not all conditions except a few major ones but EU came in existence from well established nation-state concept ( missing in Indian sub-continent). But imho EU can be considered to understand development of trade links & inner commerce between EU members that can serve the aim of a modern Mauryan Empire .
Continuing on issue of trade & commerce , we need to develop major industrial & commercial centers deep inside Indian mainland not on periphery imho its a mistake in long run for it allows these border cities to develop commercial interests that in long run may run well against nationalist interests & from a security PoV make them vunerable to enemy attacks .

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 02:32

we need to develop major industrial & commercial centers deep inside Indian mainland not on periphery imho its a mistake in long run for it allows these border cities to develop commercial interests that in long run may run well against nationalist interests & from a security PoV make them vunerable to enemy attacks .


A good point, but then it can also give rise to resentment at being "neglected" and generate separatist tendencies. The key probably is complementary development - so that each and every region is mutually dependent on the other. It is quite possible that the complementary development strategy followed by the British left the then Pakistan after the Partition devoid of capital goods/capital goods generation capacity.
But will it be wise to offer to have "complementary development" to the periphery right now (within the SAARC as demanded by some countries like BD) or after "political" and "state structure" convergence/incorporation?

I would personally think, breakup of Pakistan into independent Balochistan, and incorporation of Pakjab and Sind into India is a crucial first step even before thinking of EU like soft borders.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 03:46

Unfortunately for present time Indian Republic our neighbor specially on the eastern border isn't weak , a possible correction can happen if Tibet & other regions adjoining our frontier becomes unstable so as to allow the buffer of weaker states allowing a better assimilation to happen .


I guess, the first crucial and tricky question in the future strategic scenario, apart from the specifics of Pakistan or Tibet is the problem of attitude and policy towards "separatism" or what is known more nicely as "right to self determination of peoples" which I shorten into RSDP.

The reason this is problematic is because India's strategic options can be seen to be contradictory in terms of RSDP. While it is in Indian core's interests to encourage separatism in Tibet and therefore RSDP, to encourage RSDP in Balochistan, it is not in the core's interest to encourage RSDP in POK, or the North Eastern states. There are separatist Bengali movements in South East BD which wants to go out of BD (a similar movement exists in the Chittagong hills tracts but weaker now) whereas a separatist primarily Bengali movement exists in North Bengal on Indian side that wants to go out of India. Similarly the thorny and extremely tricky question of Tamil Tiger separatism.

So what makes RSDP applicable and what does not? This is again primarily linked to what the core wants to be the basis of its national structure. RSDP has never been applied in the world without contradiction. The Americans, under Roosevelt, solidly pushed for RSDP and forced Churchill to formally agree to this under "blackmail" - but their "greatest statesman" Abe Lincoln did not allow RSDP to the "Southern states", or George Washington allow this to the native Americans. To be fair, it can always be raised that the concept of RSDP did not exist then. However, we see that the strongest proponents of the RSDP are exactly those nations who have eliminated all separatist tendencies within their consolidated territories before jumping on the RSDP bandwagon. The UK which used similar logic to carry out Partitions (and everlasting political military nightmares) wherever they had to make unplanned and reluctant departures from - Palestine, Middle East, Ireland, India, etc., bulldozed out all such separatism within its own boundaries and even now strongly discourages RSDP within its own borders. The "idealitsic" Lenin, who allowed Finland to breakaway reversed (along with his protege, the "Georgian" Stalin - whose early theoretical output was exactly a "liberal" thesis on RSDP) this for the Ukrainians and Georgians.

Should the core bow to clamours of RSDP from powers who themselves have a contradictory and opportunistic attitude towards RSDP? The whole question can be looked at from the objective of an "ideal state". If we accept that certain human rights take precedence over others - like free speech, (therefore language), equality of all before the law (therefore of gender), right to work and social welfare, take precedence over right to "religion" or RSDP then we can have a dividing line. All states or nations that simply want to exist and separate from another entity simply because of "human rights" that fall down towards the end of the list and when such "rights" actually jeopardize the primary rights - for example a Jihadi/Talebani "right to religion" "right to culture" that demands that destroying girls schools is part of their "cultural rights" - cannot be accepted because it jeopardizes the primary rights on the top of the list.

Based on this the core can insist on incorporating and retaining areas that simply use the lower precedence rights to jeopardize the higher precedence rights. It can justify supporting RSDP where an entity is using "culture" like China which claims Tibet is part of Chinese cultural heritage to hold on to it and jeopardizes the top priority "rights" like "free speech" for Tibetans. I know that this will not be easy to apply in the case of Sri Lanka.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby Bhima » 31 Dec 2008 04:22

brihaspati wrote:In game theory, cooperative or non-coorperative players compete with each other to maximize their payoffs, and under very general conditions it can be shown that optimal equilibrium exists such that no player can gain by changing their strategy. This of course assumes that everyone plays the same game and under the same rules.


For meaningful analysis and suggesting solutions in political scenarios we need to be dealing with democracies and that is not the case here. India the core is playing a completely different game and although Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Nepal are adjusting we have no concrete past performance and behaviour models to identify and refer to. The big cheat in the game is, of course, Pork and strategies for it will require altogether different methods. A consistent policy for the entire periphery will need to aim for an agreement to develop common interests with a goal of advancing local and regional economic development aspirations which once met (at points) serve to oblige each player to any difficulties experienced by partners. Case in point Bangladesh. A country with a plethora of ills in illegal immigration, narcotics, fundamentalism etc. If India extends the hand of a development goody bag it will eventually have leverage within reason to bargain for increased border security, curbing fundamentalism etc. This policy however should only be the catalyst towards a "coming together" of like minded countries guarding against hegemonic tendencies that could interfere with the efficient functioning of the interconnected system by allowing each entity to perform to capacity.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby KLNMurthy » 31 Dec 2008 07:23

brihaspati wrote:...

The Mauryas were probably the only ones to bring the entire subcontinent into a single unit - but this happened under the first three emperors who definitely followed Chanakyan policies. The Mauryan state also appear to have actively engaged in "state capitalism", harsh penalties - and was thoroughly chastized and derided by Panini as being of "non-Indian" in origin and behaviour.

Will it be possible to copy the Mauryas in a modern format?

Brihaspati, I am interested in a reference for your cite of Panini above. Can you please supply it? thanks.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby KLNMurthy » 31 Dec 2008 07:34

brihaspati wrote:...


Should the core bow to clamours of RSDP from powers who themselves have a contradictory and opportunistic attitude towards RSDP? The whole question can be looked at from the objective of an "ideal state". If we accept that certain human rights take precedence over others - like free speech, (therefore language), equality of all before the law (therefore of gender), right to work and social welfare, take precedence over right to "religion" or RSDP then we can have a dividing line. All states or nations that simply want to exist and separate from another entity simply because of "human rights" that fall down towards the end of the list and when such "rights" actually jeopardize the primary rights - for example a Jihadi/Talebani "right to religion" "right to culture" that demands that destroying girls schools is part of their "cultural rights" - cannot be accepted because it jeopardizes the primary rights on the top of the list.

Based on this the core can insist on incorporating and retaining areas that simply use the lower precedence rights to jeopardize the higher precedence rights. It can justify supporting RSDP where an entity is using "culture" like China which claims Tibet is part of Chinese cultural heritage to hold on to it and jeopardizes the top priority "rights" like "free speech" for Tibetans. I know that this will not be easy to apply in the case of Sri Lanka.


I think RSDP vis-a-vis India is not opportunistic or contradictory though Indian intellegentsia generally behaves as though it is. The difference is ideology--states like India that incorporate a forward-looking ideology of pluralism and freedom inherently have the right and obligation to deny RSDP to states or popular movements that incorporate retrograde ideologies such as racial, cultural, religious or gender supremacism. Until and unless this fact is acknowledged by Indians and proclaimed as a doctrine by the Indian state, India will continue to flounder aimlessly.

Example: American South at the time of the Civil War had a legal right to secede and continue having slaves but no one in the moral mainstream of the world would argue today that it should have been allowed on the basis of RSDP, though the confederacy was an assertion of RSDP par excellence.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby shiv » 31 Dec 2008 07:34

brihaspati wrote:What is happening in the periphery is now affecting India's national agenda significantly, yielding issues that were relatively unimportant in the public discourse previously and hence electorally and therefore strategically unimportant (external Jihadi terror) for the main processes inside the core. India's strategic reaction to subcontinental issues so far has been defensive, mainly static, and reactive. Increasingly India as the core is being forced to move from this defensive/reactive position towards interventionist/active/proactive roles. .


When one speaks of "center and periphery" it is important to look at one's own mindset, and yes there is some important piskologyhere. Brihaspati calls India "center" and South Asia plus as "periphery". This exact mental picture is shared by most BRFites and any average armed forces man But that is not how the average Indian elected leader sees "center" and "periphery". For Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy - their local constiituency comes first and Karnataka next. The "center" -i.e Delhi is a peripheral place. For Thackray the "center" is Mumbai. Bihar is periphery. India is a faraway concept.

Teaching our children the concept of nationalism is important.

On the 30 of November, just as the Mumbai attack horror was winding down, I made the following post in the "Political roots" thread.

I would like to repost it here on the question of "What is Strategic Thought"

shiv wrote:Last night I was talking to some friends. One friend commented that there is lack of "strategic thought" in India. The other (both cousins and descendants of an iconic poet's family) - always digging for substance beyond rhetoric, asked "What is strategic thought?"

The question triggered a cascade of thoughts in my mind.

Who is vital for he maintenance of a well tended garden, the plants, or a gardener?

At one level you can say that everything is important - plants, weather, soil, air and the gardener. But while this is ultimately true on a deep philosophical plane - one could take the argument too far and say that without the earth you will have none of this.

On a more pragmatic level, if you need a well tended garden, with rows of flowering plants in one area, fruit bearing tress in another part, a vegetable patch, and a lovely lawn free of weeds - you need a good gardener. A gardener who can rise above individual plants and see what is good for the entire garden. If you let the garden grow wild, individual plant species that can thrive easily will thrive - such as weeds. The roses may all wither - and the garden becomes a jungle.

The gardener realises that birds, insects and maybe even donkeys from outside may pose a threat. He may have to step outside his own garden and chase away an approaching donkey long before it enters the garden and chews up or tramples on plants. The gardener has strategic thought about his garden.

India is like a garden. The government is the gardener and the government has to be able to rise above individual segments in the nation and work for the good of the whole country.

But Indian governments do not do that. Indian politicians represent individual plant species like petunias or roses. The representative of the "rose community" is only concerned about getting swing votes from the "marigold community" to defeat that "rose community". Our politicians do not rise above this. heir only threats are internal. They are not big enough to see the nation as a whole and therefore the do not realise that the donkey outside the garden has to be chased away before he enters the garden, not after he does that. Indian politicians do not have strategic thought.

They are too small.

At this point in time there is a servant maid working at home. I asked her if she knew what had happened in Mumbai. She did not. Her ignorance will be used by the local politician to get her vote. This ignorance is important o the politcian because he need not take any difficult decisions hat affect the nation - such as war or a terrorist attack. On the other hand he can provide a Sari or a TV set to the voter and get a vote.

I am sure that is true for the average ignorant Indian, Hindu or Muslim. If the Muslim remains out of school it is good for our netas. He will be susceptible to pressures like a promise of sops and will not ask difficult questions.

Our politcians are a rotten bunch and they will sink the nation unless we put pressure on them

Yes I do admit that votes count. But apart from votes - we the educated do count. We have a voice an financial clout. We have to ourselves rise above petty "Marigold" versus "rose" politics. That means that we need to pinpoint and beat down a politcian who does that even if he is an ally with our political inclination. For example Raj Thackray may be a Hindutva supporter - but isn't he also anti national and a liability? Do we support Raj for his Hindutva vote or should we push him away for his "Anti-North Indian" stance? But Raj Thackray is only one among many. Every politcian of every party plays this game.

Bengal politicians openly allow Bangladeshis to enter and become voters so that they control their own bloc of votes. They will be the happiest people today - the Bengal politicians who have got voted in by illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. Mumbai is suffering and some other politcian is taking the rap and some joker from some idiotic place in India dies. Who cares? The Bengal politician with Bangladesh votes is counting his luck and voters today. My heart tells me that such people really ought to be eliminated by mob action. But my mind tells me that to preserve our garden we must eliminate him with voices, money and votes.

Every society has divisions that can be exploited. And our politicians exploit only the divisions. Any politicians who controls any division controls a bloc of votes and he is wooed by the major parties because of that. Somewhere, sometime we have to start at least talking about getting integrity and uprightness into this hurt nations idiotic and fractured polity.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 07:46

For meaningful analysis and suggesting solutions in political scenarios we need to be dealing with democracies and that is not the case here. India the core is playing a completely different game and although Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Nepal are adjusting we have no concrete past performance and behaviour models to identify and refer to. The big cheat in the game is, of course, Pork and strategies for it will require altogether different methods.

True indeed - for BD, Afghanistan, Nepal all are still in transition. These are societies used to different types of authoritarianism, feudal+Islamic or feudal and the most dangerous part is when these societies vote for "change" but being used to authority, they bring in equal authoritariansim. The problem is that all these countries now have ardent suitors - China, US, UK.

A consistent policy for the entire periphery will need to aim for an agreement to develop common interests with a goal of advancing local and regional economic development aspirations which once met (at points) serve to oblige each player to any difficulties experienced by partners.
Case in point Bangladesh. A country with a plethora of ills in illegal immigration, narcotics, fundamentalism etc. If India extends the hand of a development goody bag it will eventually have leverage within reason to bargain for increased border security, curbing fundamentalism etc. This policy however should only be the catalyst towards a "coming together" of like minded countries guarding against hegemonic tendencies that could interfere with the efficient functioning of the interconnected system by allowing each entity to perform to capacity.


Here is a big problem - once democracies begin functioning in the peripheral countries, the elites in these countries begin to demonize India for scoring points in electoral and factional fights. Any economic helping hand could be used also by the opposition at that time in these countries as a representation of Indian "imperialism". In Afghanistan, this could already be happening in the hands of the Talebs - who had begun targeting Indian workers at least three years ago. In Nepal signals are still mixed. Under the 4-party alliance in BD, overtures from the Tatas and other investment offers were deliberately dragged on to the point that they became infeasible. BD actively tried to cultivate Nepal and Myanmar as a distinct bloc against the core - while actively declaring its pro-China posturings in claiming that it seeks to develop highway connections to the Chittaging port through Myanmar into China. Can we use economic leverage effectively before we have effective military and strategic leverage? For example as long as China has borders with Nepal, will Nepal be completely cooperative to follow a common agenda within the subcontinent? Will not be there greater incentive for Nepal to join the subcontinental stream if an independent Tibet separates it from China?

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby Singha » 31 Dec 2008 09:24

development has to be in periphery also if you want citizens to remain peaceful and loyal to the Center. the policy of economic neglect of north-east for 6 decades has been a disaster for India - there are 100+ terrorist orgs in NE today most with mesh networking and linkages to BD based ISI and MI.
a clique of state based elites swallow all the money Dilli sends down.

its a mistake in long run for it allows these border cities to develop commercial interests that in long run may run well against nationalist interests & from a security PoV make them vunerable to enemy attacks .


this is the flawed policy that dilli has followed like not building roads near
the border! all it has done is allowed the enemy to make its presence felt
right up the border, nibble away at us and seep into the fabric of our poor
frontier states.

if NE had seen investment like othe "core" states the headaches would be
much lesser today. look at gujarat or punjab - it is a "peripheral" state right on doorstep of TSP but being a industrial place , the people have a stake in its prosperity not in mindless maoism and jihadism.
Last edited by Singha on 31 Dec 2008 09:50, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 09:42

KV Rao wrote:

Brihaspati, I am interested in a reference for your cite of Panini above. Can you please supply it? thanks.

Apologies, Raoji, I have removed the offending line. I should have been more careful, and this is not really a place to go into a debate about the Mauryan-origins. No, there is no direct reference in Panini, but a supposed indirect connection in Patanjali's commentary on Panini about the need to subjugate "vrishalas" and the "vrishalas" being identified with Mauryas through Mudrarakshasa and Hemadri's Chaturavargachintamani. The Yuga Purana apparently also criticizes Mauryas as "oppressing" the commentator's country. However it was still a grave omission on my part, and apologies again.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 10:00

For Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy - their local constiituency comes first and Karnataka next. The "center" -i.e Delhi is a peripheral place. For Thackray the "center" is Mumbai. Bihar is periphery. India is a faraway concept.

Teaching our children the concept of nationalism is important.


This is true Shivji, I missed the point about Indian politicians. But I had felt that it is time we realize that our neglect of the periphery in strategic terms is forcing us to pay heavy costs. Sooner or later we have to evolve a consistent policy, a future vision, a doctrine for the periphery. If our current crop of politicians do not think in the way needed, the sheer force of "evolving history" will cast them on the roadside. I am sure the politicians are already beginning to get a taste of what may await them after the Shame of Mumbai.

We also have to start thinking of the whole of India as centre - without it we cannot evolve a consistent and comprehensive policy for the whole of the periphery. We also should not look at these as isolated individual countries who cannot or will not coordinate among themselves against the centre. China has consistently tried to build up realtions with Nepal, BD, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka - and of course with Pak. I am not very sure of the Maldives scenario - but I would not expect it to be left alone for long either. Just looking at or thinking of the map, is enough to start to get alarmed.

As you point out, the problem of dealing with the periphery also has impact on our own thinking inside the core. How far do we tolerate excuses of "preservation of culture" and "language" before it jeopardized the nation and the centre - and what is of essence in defining our nation that takes precedence over everything else?

Our confusion shows through in our inability so far to repeal article 370 in Kashmir - a screen behind which "separatism" and the culture of peripheralism survives. We do not as yet have a clear-cut Kashmir doctrine, or a Pakistan doctrine. It is crucial to observe that we can no longer treat these as isolated problems, for what we do in one part may very quickly and irrevocably affect other parts of the periphery. What happens in the periphery may quickly and irevocably affect our core.

Does the general hostility in the periphery makes us realize the need to consolidate the national core?

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 10:12

Sighaji wrote

this is the flawed policy that dilli has followed like not building roads near
the border! all it has done is allowed the enemy to make its presence felt
right up the border, nibble away at us and seep into the fabric of our poor
frontier states.

if NE had seen investment like othe "core" states the headaches would be
much lesser today. look at gujarat or punjab - it is a "peripheral" state right on doorstep of TSP but being a industrial place , the people have a stake in its prosperity not in mindless maoism and jihadism.


A crucial question - without development claims of neglect can be used for separatism and use of the populace for activities against the core, while with development there could be questions about rising reluctance to share prosperity with the "remaining poor" outside region and another type of "separatism" - these tendencies manifesting at least once in Punjab, and to a certain extent in certain forces from Mumbai.

Exactly the same questions will arise in not only dealing with the NE (which I included perhaps mistakenly in my concept of core - my core was the entire political boundary of India) but also with countries of the periphery. If as I urge, that Sind and Pakjab should be incorporated first and formation of Tibet hotly taken up - to disrupt the destructive activities of Pakistan and isolate Nepal to break the chain of "hostile ring" sought to be put up by China - the question of investing in these regions as well as in an independent Balochistan will be similarly problematic.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby Singha » 31 Dec 2008 10:20

until the NDA govt "look east" policy nobody seemed to care about Myanmar
and its successive military juntas and its economic problems. on some specious principle like "we talk only to democratic govts" they were totally ignored paving the route for chipanda to make deep economic and military inroads with the rangoon govts.

Dilli has suffered from the disease of not wanting to dirty its hands even
within the periphery of political india. but to ensure long term security and sphere of influence it seems we must wade into the swamps and get our hands dirty everywhere from the suez to indonesia. certainly a more proactive posture wrt Nepal, BD and Myanmar is called for....the people of North myanmar is ethnically very related to NE.

sri lanka atleast is separated by a ocean and its problems do not 'leak' in with such poison as BD/nepal. also it is stable in population growth terms and not a major threat of illegal migrants. we can tie up with SL govt once the LTTE is routed and chased from their main districts.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 10:30

Singhaji,

we can tie up with SL govt once the LTTE is routed and chased from their main districts.

This is hotly debated on the Sri Lanka thread, but you can see that even allowing the LTTE to be routed has consequences for politics within the core. Does it send the wrong signals to any in the periphery who might wish to identify with the core but fall in "peripheral" independent countries for the moment? At least two cases come to mind - the Terai workers mostly of Indian origin in plains part of Nepal, and the separatist Bengalis in SE BD. I guess it will be an issue also for Hindus in Sind. This is related to the strategic question of how far do we allow indpendent peripheral regimes to suppress/repress/liquidate groups which are ethnic/religious/culturally affailiated to the core? Not protecting them may hamper long term consolidation and expansion of the core. Protecing them may hamper also hamper consolidation of the core.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby Rudradev » 31 Dec 2008 12:09

Singha wrote:development has to be in periphery also if you want citizens to remain peaceful and loyal to the Center. the policy of economic neglect of north-east for 6 decades has been a disaster for India - there are 100+ terrorist orgs in NE today most with mesh networking and linkages to BD based ISI and MI.
a clique of state based elites swallow all the money Dilli sends down.
...

if NE had seen investment like othe "core" states the headaches would be
much lesser today. look at gujarat or punjab - it is a "peripheral" state right on doorstep of TSP but being a industrial place , the people have a stake in its prosperity not in mindless maoism and jihadism.


I was born and brought up in Mumbai. In the aftermath of the Nov 26 attacks, I saw people beginning to question openly the sort of perversity that had caused the Sonia Congress government to derail Maharashtra's security apparatus by diverting 90% of the ATS' resources towards the Malegaon witch hunt.

I myself had had those same thoughts a few weeks earlier, during a trip to India, when the Guwahati bombs claimed 84 lives in Assam. Until that day, the media had been saturated with the "Hindu terror" rhetoric of the Congress as it persecuted its political opponents one after the other. Here a column of slander against Sadhvi Pragya and Abhinav Bharat, there a libelous op-ed smearing distinguished officer Colonel Purohit, and somewhere else a report that anti-conversion activists in the Dangs were the latest additions to the ATS' hit list.

Then the Guwahati blasts, and these images of horror from a faraway place, a collapsed flyover, a decimated marketplace, blood everywhere seized hold of the national media's attention span.

For about 36 hours at the MOST.

Even during the first few hours of the aftermath, the Congress spin machine was busy concocting any and all conceivable alibis to protect the interests of its terrorist-spawning vote bank. Their spokespersons were up and about blaming ULFA, reiterating a hundred times that there was no connection to any Islamic or Bangladeshi group.

About 75% of the news stories I saw in the Mumbai papers and on the national TV networks about the Guwahati blasts included this spin... don't blame the Islamists, it was ULFA, no evidence of Bangladeshi involvement. Just as, a few weeks later, about 75% of the news stories I saw in the US media clearly attempted to distance Pakistan from any blame for the Mumbai attacks... see where I'm going with this?

Anyway... about a day and a half after the Guwahati blasts the Indian media was back to Malegaon, Malegaon, Malegaon. And I thought then what many others began to say out loud only when Hemant Karkare died 26 days later... that our Government of India had mortgaged its ruling party's vote-bank interests against the lives and property of the citizens whose security it was pledged to guarantee.

The truth is, many people in Mumbai quietly accepted the pro-Congress media's propaganda about Assam because it was far away. They thought it sad that 84 Assamese had died, but perfectly natural that once the smoke had cleared, this story from the provinces should fade from the public eye. Only when Karkare revealed his misgivings about the complete baselessness of the Malegaon investigation he was being forced to prosecute, shortly before a Pakistani terrorist shot him dead, did a significant number of people in Mumbai sit up and notice that something very wrong was taking place on a national scale.

Singha is correct when he talks of commercial interests developing in frontier cities that render them vulnerable to terrorist attacks, as a result of underdevelopment and central government neglect. The view from the other side, however, is equally dismal... a psychological othering of the people on the frontier, a distancing of their travails, an inability to conceive of their tragedies as affecting every Indian citizen. It is almost as if what happens to those people happens in some other country.

As Shiv says, politicians will contrive to keep the electorate ignorant and poor so that they can be most easily manipulated. However, the point of my story is that many literate and educated citizens who really ought to know better, still fail utterly to conceive of an overarching and all-pervasive national interest, or conceive of it as a mere abstraction to fume about every now and then before returning it to the back burner.

So why should we be surprised that the criminal Congress swept back to power in Delhi and Rajasthan within weeks of the Mumbai massacre that its negligence had contributed so much toward precipitating?

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby Rudradev » 31 Dec 2008 12:10

Singha wrote:development has to be in periphery also if you want citizens to remain peaceful and loyal to the Center. the policy of economic neglect of north-east for 6 decades has been a disaster for India - there are 100+ terrorist orgs in NE today most with mesh networking and linkages to BD based ISI and MI.
a clique of state based elites swallow all the money Dilli sends down.
...

if NE had seen investment like othe "core" states the headaches would be
much lesser today. look at gujarat or punjab - it is a "peripheral" state right on doorstep of TSP but being a industrial place , the people have a stake in its prosperity not in mindless maoism and jihadism.


I was born and brought up in Mumbai. In the aftermath of the Nov 26 attacks, I saw people beginning to question openly the sort of perversity that had caused the Sonia Congress government to derail Maharashtra's security apparatus by diverting 90% of the ATS' resources towards the Malegaon witch hunt.

I myself had had those same thoughts a few weeks earlier, during a trip to India, when the Guwahati bombs claimed 84 lives in Assam. Until that day, the media had been saturated with the "Hindu terror" rhetoric of the Congress as it persecuted its political opponents one after the other. Here a column of slander against Sadhvi Pragya and Abhinav Bharat, there a libelous op-ed smearing distinguished officer Colonel Purohit, and somewhere else a report that anti-conversion activists in the Dangs were the latest additions to the ATS' hit list.

Then came the Guwahati blasts, and these images of horror from a faraway place, a collapsed flyover, a decimated marketplace with bodies everywhere, seized hold of the national media's attention span.

For about 36 hours at the MOST.

Even during the first few hours of the aftermath, the Congress spin machine was busy concocting any and all conceivable alibis to protect the interests of its terrorist-spawning vote bank. Their spokespersons were up and about blaming ULFA, reiterating a hundred times that there was no connection to any Islamic or Bangladeshi group.

About 75% of the news stories I saw in the Mumbai papers and on the national TV networks about the Guwahati blasts included this spin... don't blame the Islamists, it was ULFA, no evidence of Bangladeshi involvement. Just as, a few weeks later, about 75% of the news stories I saw in the US media clearly attempted to distance Pakistan from any blame for the Mumbai attacks... recapitulating the same curious pattern.

Anyway... about a day and a half after the Guwahati blasts the Indian media was back to Malegaon, Malegaon, Malegaon. And I thought then what many others began to say out loud only when Hemant Karkare died 26 days later... that our Government of India had mortgaged its ruling party's vote-bank interests against the lives and property of the citizens whose security it was pledged to guarantee.

The truth is, many people in Mumbai quietly accepted the pro-Congress media's propaganda about Assam because it was far away. They thought it sad that 84 Assamese had died, but perfectly natural that once the smoke had cleared, this story from the provinces should fade from the public eye. Only when Karkare revealed his misgivings about the complete baselessness of the Malegaon investigation he was being forced to prosecute, shortly before a Pakistani terrorist shot him dead, did a significant number of people in Mumbai sit up and notice that something very wrong was taking place on a national scale.

Singha is correct when he talks of commercial interests developing in frontier cities that render them vulnerable to terrorist attacks, as a result of underdevelopment and central government neglect. The view from the other side, however, is equally dismal... a psychological othering of the people on the frontier, a distancing of their travails, an inability to conceive of their tragedies as affecting every Indian citizen. Even as a third generation of independent Indian citizens begins to approach adulthood, it is almost as if what happens to people in a remote state happens in some other country.

As Shiv says, politicians will contrive to keep the electorate ignorant and poor so that they can be most easily manipulated. However, the point of my story is that many literate and educated citizens who really ought to know better, still fail utterly to conceive of an overarching and all-pervasive national interest, or conceive of it as a mere abstraction to fume about every now and then before returning it to the back burner.

So why should we be surprised that the criminal Congress swept back to power in Delhi and Rajasthan within weeks of the Mumbai massacre that its negligence had contributed so much toward precipitating? And, given the yawning absence of cohesive sensibility that becomes apparent, where can we even begin to look for the right soil in which to sow the seeds of strategic thought?

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 18:43

The truth is, many people in Mumbai quietly accepted the pro-Congress media's propaganda about Assam because it was far away.


This is also true that the national media tends to give more coverage to certain pockets of "interest" in Western India, and thereby giving the impression that the centre lies in small pockets within western India. What is significant is that even whats happening in the immediate "periphety" does not make it into "important issue" - for example how much of whats happeing say even within Chattisgarh make it to Mumbai based "national" networks?

In India specifically, even more than the periphery-core issue, another factor appears to work - a selection based on "issues" - for example Orissa usually does not make it to the "core" list of issues for the "national media" - it only comes up on issues like "Kandhmal".

Is it possible to think of an exclusively "national" media, some framework and structure that will maintain professional standards but will not differentiate within the "core" and bring up "issues" shunned by the existing media? In any case our media is still meant for the consumption of the literate minority, and it does not touch the life of the vast majority directly - except by secondary mobilizations through the literate "activists" or "decision maker networks".

Is it time to demand this of existing media as well as work towards establishment of such a more non-discriminating media unit for the entire core?

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 19:12

Sk Hasina has proposed her willingness to setup/join a "joint task force" for tackling terror in South Asia. This is a significant core-periphery issue. Sk Hasina's opposition led by Begum Khaleda Jia had opposed this structure citing dangers to "sovereignty". But doesn't the same debate arise even within the core - states/provinces resisting central control or presence, and the central admin trying to escape or shirk responsibility citing this resistance or policy of "non-interference". It only breaks down when neither can manage a particular situation and there is the fear of electoral backlash so that the other "party" in this tug-of-war needs to be "blamed".

But isnt the question that now arises with sharing information with Pakistan still going to be an issue for a South-Asia joint task force? This measure is a crucial step or tool towards eventual convergence of the core and the periphery. But how can we ensure, that the mechanism persists over changes of regimes, and is not going to be abused by the periphery (to gain information about how much the core knows about protected anti-core forces within peripheral nations and take "corrective" measures - and resist outflow of information citing sovereignity)?

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby vsudhir » 31 Dec 2008 19:26

We need an article 370 lite for the border states in the NE on a retrospective basis. The demographic dimension there overrides everything else. Simply Have to kickout the intruders, illegal settlers and their children even if born in India with ration cards in thier mouths.

That will convince the other core-periphery states and subnationalities therein that there is no threat to their cultural and linguistic identity either within or in a confederation with the Indian union.

Of course, Article 370 for J&K can also be diluted to 370 lite as a first step to its eventual dismantling altogether.

Ideally, SL, Burma, and Nepal should form a confederation with India - FTA, perhaps a common currency, harmonised polity and security treaties etc not to mention foreign policies. They should be in the Indian sphere of influence whilst retaining their distinct identities.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 19:45

That will convince the other core-periphery states and subnationalities therein that there is no threat to their cultural and linguistic identity either within or in a confederation with the Indian union.


Isnt it better to establish an ordered principle of human rights where cultural rights come below rights of education, or gender equality? otherwise even article 370 lite could be used to protect cultural claims of "no-education" for girls. This is not a problem for the NE but could be a problem for Kashmir.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby SaiK » 31 Dec 2008 19:46

if pakistan does not break up, SL will dance hell on earth till then. nepal will anyway respond it its own term.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby Bhima » 31 Dec 2008 19:51

Here is a big problem - once democracies begin functioning in the peripheral countries, the elites in these countries begin to demonize India for scoring points in electoral and factional fights. Any economic helping hand could be used also by the opposition at that time in these countries as a representation of Indian "imperialism". In Afghanistan, this could already be happening in the hands of the Talebs - who had begun targeting Indian workers at least three years ago. In Nepal signals are still mixed. Under the 4-party alliance in BD, overtures from the Tatas and other investment offers were deliberately dragged on to the point that they became infeasible. BD actively tried to cultivate Nepal and Myanmar as a distinct bloc against the core - while actively declaring its pro-China posturings in claiming that it seeks to develop highway connections to the Chittaging port through Myanmar into China. Can we use economic leverage effectively before we have effective military and strategic leverage? For example as long as China has borders with Nepal, will Nepal be completely cooperative to follow a common agenda within the subcontinent? Will not be there greater incentive for Nepal to join the subcontinental stream if an independent Tibet separates it from China?


Here lies a further compounding of possible complexities primarily due to poor decision making that could harm the efficient functioning of the system. Trade ties could be viewed by certain factions as imperialism but would be accompanied by poor diplomatic performance from the core. Even in that case the majority would side towards the core due to personal interest. Does India not side towards Uncle despite its poor diplomatic performance and perceived imperialism? Whether the initial ruling democratic periphery is favourable to the core is a matter of luck but additionally to trade ties a further emphasis on shared cultural, historical, geographical, racial bonds could be advertised through the powerful propaganda machine of the core which cannot be rivaled even by the US, UK or China. If the people on the ground hold the core in a favourable light it would be difficult for any democratic periphery to cause complications. Though the Talibunnies are targeting Indians in Afghanistan it could be argued that they are just an extension of the Porki state and actually Afghanis see India in a very favourable light hence so do the rulers making Afghanistan a positive player. An interesting strategy to further investigate could be similar to the "Value Investing" technique of carefully avoiding risky investments that could damage performance of the overall portfolio. The portfolio is too keep the core, and peripheries favourable to the core, economically developing. The distinction of why these economic improvements are occurring should be effectively advertised to peripheries unfavourable to the core in order to bring about a change in public outlook reflected in the democratic structures which will hopeful develop over time. Now when the leaders of the (functioning democracies) anti core countries see that their stock (fundamentalism, crime, kickbacks etc) is not earning them the potential of pro-core stock could it will be much easier to sway supporters who are already enchanted by the media drive on them. I think a very good example is Kashmir where extremism has directly affected development issues and although public opinion is anti-core (and reflected in leadership), if India can now ensure development aspirations are met, anti-core sentiments may change and that too will reflect in leadership. Successfully developing a state such as Kashmir and correlating that success with pro-core behaviour would serve as excellent marketing material to anti-core peripheries.

I think the point earlier about diplomacy is critical when analysing the source of anti-core sentiments among peripheries to avoid these long term complications.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 19:57

Sk Hasina's press conference also had two journalists raise issues of repression in Myanmar, and China's role from a journalist from Thailand. I find it significant that, for the periphery - China is becoming an important issue of concern that has to be raised among themselves - the context of India did not appear in these questions as raised. Has China already replaced the core in India for this partcular side of the periphery?

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby Bhima » 31 Dec 2008 20:18

For a country surrounded on each side by India that does not seem possible. Although there may be a conscious attempt to use a similar strategy to Pork to neutralise perceived Indian hegemony.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 20:20

if pakistan does not break up, SL will dance hell on earth till then.


Norway plays a possible role in Sri Lanka - playing on both sides of the internal game in SL. How far SL can collaborate with Pak? There is no natural alliance of societies - the SL Buddhist basic strand is not compatible with the Jihadi Islamic strand. So it only can be an opportunistic alliance to pressurize the core. But the core has not exploited cultural consolidation tactics - especially the Buddhist ones could be activated about Myanmar, Thailand and SL, in parallel with economic/diplomatic initiative.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 20:29

Bhimaji,

For a country surrounded on each side by India that does not seem possible. Although there may be a conscious attempt to use a similar strategy to Pork to neutralise perceived Indian hegemony.


I had mentioned the Myanmar+Thai perception as a possible indication that to a certain thought process in BD+Myanmar+Thailand - it is China which is for them the possible strategic core and not India. All three countries have one great strategic advantage - they have contiguous borders and in fact landlock Indian territories on the eastern Bay of Bengal, and all of them have shorelines on to the Bay of Bengal. Myanmar also gives access to China for all three countries if they manage a corridor among themselves.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby shiv » 31 Dec 2008 20:36

brihaspati wrote:We also have to start thinking of the whole of India as centre - without it we cannot evolve a consistent and comprehensive policy for the whole of the periphery. We also should not look at these as isolated individual countries who cannot or will not coordinate among themselves against the centre. China has consistently tried to build up realtions with Nepal, BD, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka - and of course with Pak. I am not very sure of the Maldives scenario - but I would not expect it to be left alone for long either. Just looking at or thinking of the map, is enough to start to get alarmed.

As you point out, the problem of dealing with the periphery also has impact on our own thinking inside the core. How far do we tolerate excuses of "preservation of culture" and "language" before it jeopardized the nation and the centre - and what is of essence in defining our nation that takes precedence over everything else?

Please answer one question ifyou can - I mean anyone can have a go not just you.

I have not read Chanakya's works in original or in translation. I have only read excerpts.

Despite my ignorance I have brashly alleged - perhaps on this forum that for all Chanakya's greatness, he was incapable of strategic thought in 21st century terms because strategic thought today involves thinking across continents and influencing events via the sea and even by air power and indeed space power.

For this simple reason even the likes of Alexander, who crossed continents had a modicum of "strategic thought" that Chanakya could not possibly have had, despite his admitted foresight, vision and brilliance.

Great Britain by crossing continents developed the experience of military power and diplomacy as it dealt with its colonies. France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Italy acquired similar expertise. The US too - thrown into WW1 and WW2 acquired the need to think long distances.

India by and large and Indian history by add large has no culture of thinking faraway places and long distances. IOW transcontinental thinking This must change. When people mention Chanakya I squirm internally. Not because he was wrong. But his experience may be inadequate. We have to take Chanakya and apply it across continents and pick up lessons that Chanakya may not have. I might be wrong about Chanakya, but I doubt if I am wrong about Indian leadership inability to think beyond one's local tehsil. This is a disease that possibly afflicts 90% of Indians. Nothing in Indian history and experience has taught us to think this way. the Indian experience looks only internally. Not externally.

We need to move to a new square on the checkerboard.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby JwalaMukhi » 31 Dec 2008 20:59

shiv wrote:Nothing in Indian history and experience has taught us to think this way. the Indian experience looks only internally. Not externally.

This is common misperception that there is nothing in history. There are few instances, and those are not highlighted. The Indian history has been not well managed by later day Indians and provides little information that are quite significant for those times.

For instance, the Kampuja (Combodia) has Angkor wat temple and built by South Indian king Verma. If one looks at the history of Naval Campagians conducted across the oceans during the 11th - 12th century period from TN to Malay, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and many many islands in the Indian ocean, it will be clear that there are concrete examples of external experience. One needs to look at Raja Raja Cholan I period for instance.

ONe of the possible factors is all the european countries mentioned are puny in size compared to Indic lands and they had nothing to loose. They had everything to gain and more recently the USA is well protected by natural barriers and hence they can afford to experiment with different strategies and when they go wrong, the impact is limited.
However, I agree the looking external needs to be cultivated.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby shiv » 31 Dec 2008 21:04

JwalaMukhi wrote:
shiv wrote:Nothing in Indian history and experience has taught us to think this way. the Indian experience looks only internally. Not externally.

This is common misperception that there is nothing in history. There are few instances, and those are not highlighted. The Indian history has been not well managed by later day Indians and provides little information that are quite significant for those times.

For instance, the Kampuja (Combodia) has Angkor wat temple and built by South Indian king Verma. If one looks at the history of Naval Campagians conducted across the oceans during the 11th - 12th century period from TN to Malay, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and many many islands in the Indian ocean, it will be clear that there are concrete examples of external experience. One needs to look at Raja Raja Cholan I period for instance.
< snip >
However, I agree the looking external needs to be cultivated.


I have made my statement despite being aware of this. These campaigns were over too small a period of time and too restricted to sink into the psyche of Indians. Indians tend not to think of how to turn screws on KSA for instance to squeeze Packee goolies. We are local dealers. Not multinational companies.

We need to change that.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby SBajwa » 31 Dec 2008 21:44

I absolute agree with Shiv that children need to be shown/taught the perceived strategic vision of India and Indians.

Kids must know that the fourth battle of Panipat will not be fought at Panipat but at far places as India has become a global player. It is the responsibility of the kids to look outward and gain knowledge to make sure that the fourth battle of India is fought in middle East or Far East., but not in India.

Kids must know that India has been harmed in past and same thing is continuing even today.

Kids must know that you only prosper thorough best defense and strategic guided offense.

For example.

A person (India) hordes lots and lots of wealth and everybody is rich in India what will happen then?

We will get lots of people from around the world seductively looking at that wealth and an oppurtunity to grab it.

Now... how do we protect that wealth?

By investing 25% of wealth in Defense and 15% in strategic offense. i.e. 40% of your budget should directly or indirectly be involved in protection of state, citizens, idealogy, development of new tech for protection., etc.

40% means everything from police to IAF and inbetween.
40% means educating the kids about exercises and healthy dietery habbits.
40% means armed training and new armament.

We cannot go around ignorng that it is not our job to protect our nation., our values and our ideas. Only way to development and a sustained development is through protection in place beforehand.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 22:59

This is about the Chanakya angle :

Book VI, Chapter I - The source of sovereign states: the elements of sovereignty (p319, RD.Shyamasatry's translations)

"[best qualities of the king] Born of a high family, godly, possessed of valour, seeing through the medium of aged persons, virtuous, truthful, not of a contradictory nature, grateful, having large aims, highly enthusiastic, not addicted to procarastinatation, powerful to control his neighbouring kings, of resolute mind. having an assembly of miniters of no mean quality, and possesed of a taste for discipline; "
Inquiry, hearing, perception, retention in memory, reflection, deliberation, inference and steadfast adherence to conclusions are the qualities of the intellect.
Valour, determination of purpose, quickness, and probity are the aspects of enthusiasm.
Possessed of a sharp intellect, strong memory, and keen mind, energetic, powerful, trained in all kinds of arts, free from vice, capable of paying in the same coin by way of awarding punishments or rewards, possessed of dignity, capable of taking remedial measures against dangers, possessed of foresight, ready to avail of opportunities when afforded in respect of place, time, and manly efforts, clever enough to discern the causes necessitating the cessation of treaty or war with an enemy, or to lie in wait keeping treaties, obligations and pledges, or to avail himself of enemy's weak points, making jokes with no loss of dignity or secrecy, never brow-beating and casting haughty and stern looks, free from passion, anger, greed, obstinacy, fickleness, haste, and back-biting habits, talking to others witha smiling face, and observing customs as taught by aged persons - [self-possession]

** A wise king can make even the poor and miserable elements...happy and prosperous, but a wicked king will surely destroy the most prosperous and loyal elements of his kingdom.
**But a wise king, trained in politics, will though he possesses a small territory, conquer the whole earth with the help of the best-fitted elements of his soverignty, and will never be defeated.

(1) "the king who is situated anywhere immediately on the circumference of the conqueror's [Chanakya defines a king who is the "fountain of policy" a conqueror] territory is termed the enemy.
(2) "the king who is likewise situated close to the enemy, but separated from the conqueror only by enemy, is termed the friend (of the conqueror)
(3) "a neighbouring foe of considerable power is is styled an enemy, and when he is involved in calamities or has taken himself to evil ways, he becomes assailable; and when he has little or no help, he becomes destructible, otherwise (i.e., when he is provided with some help), he deserves to be harassed or reduced."
(4) "In front of the conqueror and close to his enemy, there happen to be situated kings such as the conqueror's friend, next to him, the enemy's friend, and next to the last, the conqueror's friends' friend, and next, the enemy's friend's friend."
(5) " In the rear of the conqueror, [there is] rearward enemy, a rearward friend, an ally of the rearward enemy, and an ally of the rearward friend.
(6) That foe who is of equally high birth and occupies a territory close to that of the conqueror is a natural enemy, while he who is merely antaginistic and creates enemies to the conqueror is fa actitious enemy....[more subcategories dependent on position] He who is situated beyond the territory of any of the above kings and who is very powerful and capable of helping the enemy, the conqueror, and the Madhyama [ an intermediate category based on territorial position and power] king together or individually, or of resisting any of them individually, is a neutral king" [12 categories in all]

Chanakya goes on to define "circles of states" which are based on both territorial position as well as power. Further, the king "shall always endeavour to augment his own power".

I think within the framework of his experience, Chanakya is writing about beyond border, cross territory geo-strategic thinking - bot positional as well as tactical elements of relative power and potential conflict arising out of ditinct identites - are all quite prominent in Book VI.

brihaspati
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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 23:15

For this simple reason even the likes of Alexander, who crossed continents had a modicum of "strategic thought" that Chanakya could not possibly have had, despite his admitted foresight, vision and brilliance.

Great Britain by crossing continents developed the experience of military power and diplomacy as it dealt with its colonies. France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Italy acquired similar expertise. The US too - thrown into WW1 and WW2 acquired the need to think long distances.

India by and large and Indian history by add large has no culture of thinking faraway places and long distances. IOW transcontinental thinking This must change. When people mention Chanakya I squirm internally. Not because he was wrong. But his experience may be inadequate. We have to take Chanakya and apply it across continents and pick up lessons that Chanakya may not have. I might be wrong about Chanakya, but I doubt if I am wrong about Indian leadership inability to think beyond one's local tehsil. This is a disease that possibly afflicts 90% of Indians. Nothing in Indian history and experience has taught us to think this way. the Indian experience looks only internally. Not externally.



We also have to remember almost all the European powers have had to reliquish their colonies physically -they are still sort of holding on indirectly only in those regions where they managed to clear the area of older populations (mostly). We cannot be sure that the same fate awaits the USA eventually. Some will argue (not mine!) that the cultural "conquests" in SE Asia have lasted longer than the Cholan empire (but this is tricky - as the South Indian expeditions could themsleves be intricately linked with the very spread of "culture" and all perhaps mediated through economic exchange and mutual interdependence.

It is absolutely true that we have tantalizing indications of Indian shipping expertise in the ancient period, lasting right up to the advent Islamic power. Why the Indians gave up their naval dominance is still a mystery (could be climatic disasters that restricted state resources - but then why didnt it affect the Arabs and the Chinese and Sri Lankans likely to be under the same Monsoon dragnet?). It is easy to see why Shivji has a point - a strong Indian navy could have protected Indian dominance of Arabian sea trade to the west and helped mount an Alexander type attack supported by an amphibious force crawling along the Gulf and take out the Iraqi hotspots of Islamic intrigue and Caliphate that were sending wave after wave of invasions into western India (its effectiveness shown in the Karachi attacks during 1971 and might be needed in the future too).

brihaspati
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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby brihaspati » 31 Dec 2008 23:43

More than an year old but still talks of similar problems: here is an "expert" from the EU talking of "separatism" among others in our core-periphery. This is one issue we need a consistent and justifiable policy on to be applicable throughout the core-periphery.

http://www.kadirgamarinstitute.lk/html/pdf/The%20Threat%20Posed%20by%20International%20Terrorist%20Movements_Chaliand.pdf

Few countries have,
like Spain after 1975, when the country became democratic, granted large rights or
regional autonomy. The general tendency, for the ruling group, like the Sunnis in Iraq or
the Alawi in Syria, has been to keep power for themselves, even if they were themselves
minorities. Incidentally, when we speak about minorities, the general understanding,
concerning their status in non-democratic regime, is that they are oppressed. This is not
automatically the case. Minorities can be minorities of superiority, like in Rwanda today
or in Burundi, or in Syria.
It was the case of the Tamil at the eve of Independence in Sri Lanka. Used by the British
in their indirect rule as their local allies, Tamil were over represented in the postindependence
elites. They protested when their ratio in University were challenged.
And the conflictual cycle started.
I believe that a demand for independence by a minority, whatever it may be, cannot
be willingly granted by a State. This has been, in my own view, the original mistake in
the 90's of the Chechens and in the 80's of the Kurds of Turkey. The Kurds of Iran, more
wisely, asked for autonomy in the 80's.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby Bhima » 01 Jan 2009 00:56

brihaspati wrote:Bhimaji,

For a country surrounded on each side by India that does not seem possible. Although there may be a conscious attempt to use a similar strategy to Pork to neutralise perceived Indian hegemony.


I had mentioned the Myanmar+Thai perception as a possible indication that to a certain thought process in BD+Myanmar+Thailand - it is China which is for them the possible strategic core and not India. All three countries have one great strategic advantage - they have contiguous borders and in fact landlock Indian territories on the eastern Bay of Bengal, and all of them have shorelines on to the Bay of Bengal. Myanmar also gives access to China for all three countries if they manage a corridor among themselves.


brihaspatiji:

The Radcliffe Line was certainly drawn up by an enemy of India. From the geographic perspective it does indeed appear that Bangladeshi leaders could consider China the core thus complicating matters. Thank you for pointing that out to me.

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Re: Future strategic scenario for the Indian Subcontinent

Postby vsudhir » 01 Jan 2009 03:19

Oft tom-tommed 'soft power' apart, in terms of hard power projection within and beyond the IOR periphery, how does Bharatavarsha measure up? Talk roils in other threads about an impending 120k troop deployment to Afghanistan. India needs a fourth military wing for long distance power projections. A marine wing of our own. Our foreign legion.

BTW, the colonists did loot and make merry our vast wealth. Over 200 yrs of rule, they systematically plundered and took away more than the primitive jihadist excursions managed to in the preceding 600. And they're likely to lose it within a 100 yrs of the end of the direct colonial era (defined broadly from the end of WWII) - already the extent of their fiscal and financial over-extensions and indebtedness staggers all but the severely innured.

Our time shall come, hopefully in our own lifetimes. But certainly within that of our grandchildren. Like Seldon's psychohistory, what favors the Indic model in the longterm is perhaps the premise that it is indeed more 'ethical', more equitable, more enduring (more dare-I-say-it 'dharmic', IOW) than the barbarism of the jihadist and the sophistry of the imperialist.

IMVVHOs onlee, of course.


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