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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/15/21

India's service to U.S. empire brings its Balkanization closer

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Since India's independence from traditional colonialism, imperialism's relationship with the country has been one of cultivating the country's propensity towards internally replicating colonialism's evils. In the 1920s, Indian nationalism gave rise to the world's longest-running fascist movement, which after independence perpetrated the brutal partitioning of India and Pakistan. The violent segregation that the carving up of India created, and the world-imperiling nuclear tensions that the India-Pakistan rivalry has brought, have in turn benefited the imperialists. Pakistan's existence has allowed the U.K. to sustain its position in southwest Asia by militarily partnering with the country, and the creation of two separate dominions has allowed the imperialist powers to rule southern Asia via division.

This manufacturing of massive suffering for geopolitical gains, with a forceful breakup of a country being the destructive instrument, is what the imperialists are now aiming to do to Ethiopia. Washington is putting forth strategically fabricated atrocity stories about Ethiopia's government, backing the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front in its terrorist activities, and pushing for an intervention parallel to the one the imperialists have carried out in Syria following the NATO-created jihadist war against Assad. As Andrew Korybko of the Russian International Affairs Council assesses, Washington's hybrid war on both Ethiopia and Eritrea has been so despicable (producing a civil war that's behind one of the world's largest famines) that even the U.S. proxy state of India has stood in solidarity with the targeted government:

China, Russia and India have politically supported Ethiopia against the U.S. at the UN, thereby debunking The Economist's lie last week that "Ethiopia is losing friends and influence". To the contrary, Ethiopia is gaining friends and influence, especially among the rising powers and the rest of the Global South. Its principled resistance to the American hybrid war on it has shown others that there is an alternative to capitulation. It is indeed possible to fight back in the interests of national unity. Not all American destabilization plots are guaranteed success. Just like the U.S. failed to topple the Syrian government, so too has it failed to topple the Ethiopian regime.

Ultimately, Washington aims to apply the balkanization model to China as well, which it's manufacturing consent for by claiming Xinjiang needs to be "liberated" from supposed Uyghur oppression, that Tibet needs to be "freed" from Chinese socialism, and that Taiwan and Hong Kong somehow aren't Chinese. What's ironic is that imperialism's propensity towards breaking up countries, or at exacting tremendous violence in order to try to break them up, is now endangering the internal unity of one of its most important proxy states: India. This year, the Indian Marxist Saikat Bhattacharyya predicted that India in the 2020s will "be the Spanish Empire of 1890s" due to its internal contradictions coming to a head as a consequence of its role within Washington's war on China:

Just like Britain tolerated the USA at the cost of Spain in the 1890s, this time the USA will tolerate China at the cost of India. India can be a future powerhouse in the Chinese backyard if its huge manpower is fully used. No power tolerates another power in its own backyard. So China is likely to target India when it is still weak. India is very diverse linguistically, religiously, geographically and hence has a divided population often quarreling and fighting on religious and linguistic lines. India is militarily weaker compared to China and it has a conflict with several of its neighbors. So China is likely to confront India...

There are precedents within China's political culture for such retaliations against India to be carried out. Ones where China responds to fascist India's regional terrorist backing, Sinophobic propaganda narratives, and military provocations by seeking to liberate India's internal nations from Hindu nationalist oppression. In 2009, the Chinese International Institute for Strategic Studies published an article titled If China takes a little action, the so-called Great Indian Federation can be broken up. It called India as it now exists a "Hindu religious state" held together by a monolithic and inflexible structure based around caste, and argued that China should join forces with groups like the Assamese, the Tamils, and the Kashmiris in establishing independent nation-states.

This article was published in several other strategic and military websites within China, and was meant for a domestic audience. This perspective of course wasn't adopted by the Communist Party of China, and was the view of one individual. But as the new cold war has intensified, as India's caste system has grown even more oppressive following fascism's 2014 victory within the country, and as the Kashmiris have come under unprecedented Indian colonial violence amid the fascists' ending Kashmir's autonomous status, the vision for a Chinese alliance with India's subjugated nations has come closer to getting realized. The modern Communist Party of China does not seek to foment revolutions abroad, but when these kinds of humanitarian crises and geopolitical pressures emerge, China acts proportionately.

A hint of this came last week, during the annual India-Russia summit in New Delhi. During that meeting, Sergei Lavrov accused the U.S. of trying to make India "obey American orders," prompting President & Chief Executive Officer of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum Mukesh Aghi to conclude that Russia and China want Washington to Sanction India: "I think it's in the interest of Russia that the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) is imposed on India. It is in the interest of China that CAATSA is imposed on India. For (Russian Foreign Minister Sergey) Lavrov to proactively poke at the United States in a summit with India was undiplomatic. The relation between India and the US is not at the cost of relations between Russia and India as long as it is not at the cost of the US."

This of course isn't a maneuver against the Modi regime on China's part, just a sign that the Sino-Russian bloc's interests lie in the regime being held accountable for its provocations and abuses. And Washington obviously won't fulfill this bloc's wishes when it comes to India. But when India is acting so antagonistic towards China, the mere presence of the new multipolar world China is leading has the potential to make India's contradictions come to a head. Plus, China's direct involvement in other facets surrounding India are already applying more pressure to the Modi regime; the Chinese military incursions into Kashmir during recent years have encouraged Pakistan to increase its support for Kashmiri separatists. Which is incidental to China's policies, given that China has iterated support for Pakistan on the Kashmir dispute.

When Bhattacharyya predicted that the U.S. will tolerate China at the cost of India, he seemingly meant that China's sheer strength will be too great for Washington to have any choice other than helplessly sitting back as the PRC builds a more equitable global order. China's Belt and Road Initiative is undoing neo-colonial underdevelopment in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and other parts of the region. And India's role as a proxy agent for covert U.S. destabilization within these countries, correlated with its military buildup against China, is driving the country closer to breakup. Its investment in the cold war, its intensifying oppression against the groups targeted by Hindu fascism, and its embrace of extreme neoliberal policies are bringing another wave of Indian balkanization closer.

As Indian columnist Sajjad Shaukat assesses in his case for why Modi has accelerated the balkanization of India, even the regime's domestic counterinsurgency strategy is defined by this self-destructive hubris of a cold war-imperialist puppet state:

India, dominated by politicians from the Hindi heartland Hindutva, have been using brutal force ruthlessly against Assam, Kashmir, Khalistan, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura. These states which are ethnically and linguistically different from rest of the country are rocked by a large number of armed and violent rebellions, some seeking separate states, some fighting for autonomy and others demanding complete independence. Instead of redressing the grievances of the people by eliminating injustices against them, Modi-led regime is depending upon state terrorism to crush these extremist and secessionist movements. But, India's unrealistic counterinsurgency strategy has badly failed. It is notable that by ignoring the modern global trends like renunciation of war, peaceful settlement of disputes and economic development, India has accelerated alarming arms race in South Asia.

Capitalism in India is so fragile, and the Hindutva regime's ethnic intolerance has placed it in such a volatile geopolitical position, that China barely needs to make any self-defensive maneuvers to bring significant ripple effects in the progression towards a new era for the region. One where the brutal legacy of colonialism has been fully undone, and the nations that have long been oppressed by Hindu nationalism and casteism can build socialism amid a paradigm of self-determination.

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