This is a reprint from NewsBred.
The lead story this week by Chidan and Rajghatta in the Times of India (TOI) is factually correct on both its major points: (a) China is building forces on India's borders and (b) China is thwarting a US-supported bid for India's admission into the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The report also states that the Pentagon has warned of China's increasing military presence in various parts of the world.
It's understandable that millions of TOI readers would be alarmed; and inclined to see US as a friend, and China as an enemy with aggressive intent. This narrative needs a bigger picture lest the Indian subcontinent and Asia is gripped with a heightened arms race. After all, a nuclear flashpoint in South Asia is arguably the greatest threat to life on our planet.
First, the Pentagon asserts that China is increasing its military presence around the world. The truth is it's the US which is operating/controlling around 1,000 military bases worldwide, according to International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases; so much so that the Pentagon "owns" the biggest land bank in the world. Over 50 percent of the world's weapons are supplied by US corporations .
Just a few weeks ago, the US signed a deal to have five military bases in the Philippines. The US Army has a "Pacific Pathways" program where it coordinates joint military operations with Australia, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Mongolia, South Korea and Thailand. The Obama administration has approved the sale of 1.8 billion dollars worth of weapons to Taiwan, the biggest such weapons supply in years. South Korea was the leading US arms importer in 2014.
The US is hell-bent on controlling the air and seas near the Chinese mainland from its bases in Australia, Guam, Japan and South Korea. A new semi-official reports by the Washington-based Center for International and Strategic Studies (CSIS) details plans for the Pentagon's preparations for war against China . The report is titled "Asia-Pacific Rebalance 2025: Capabilities, Presence and Partnerships," chiefly lists targets China.
The report is commissioned by the US Department of Defense, at the behest of Congress under the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. It spells out the Pentagon's overall strategy for a war against China, known as Air-Sea Battle. This involves massive air and missile strikes on the Chinese mainland aimed at destroying key military assets, infrastructure, communications, economic and political leadership. It also involves an economic blockade of China by disrupting its maritime trade route through the Indian Ocean. The report is a master plan to boost the arms race in Asia that would inevitably place the region and Asia at the risk of a holocaust.
Enters India into the picture. There is little secret that India is into a massive drive to boost its nuclear and missile capability. Its defense budget has increased by 12% in 2014-15 to over $38 billion. It's now collaborating with Israel in missile defense technology. It plans to mount MIRV's on nuclear-capable Agni V missiles. Indeed, India is one of the leaders in global arms imports. Indian Missile Defense Shield is for real.
Given the wariness with which Pakistan and China view India's armed preparedness, and vice-versa, it's logical that an arms race has ensued. The Indo-US Nuclear Deal of 2008 hasn't helped matters. And now India and the US have signed a 10-year defense framework agreement. Thus, to portray China's presence on Indian borders as proof of its aggressive intent needs to be viewed in totality.
Now to the subject of India's 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group ( NSG) membership issue. Presently, the NSG is comprised mostly of OECD countries, although it also includes nations such as Argentina, Brazil, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Turkey and Ukraine. It doesn't include India. That's because NSG itself was formed in 1975 in the wake of India's 1974 test explosion of an atom bomb. Since nuclear mercantilism is also important for rich nations, they made a distinction between nuclear weapons and nuclear power and created the NSG. As they say, all is fair in business and war.
The truth is, the US wants India--like it does with Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines--to be tied down in military alignments and facilities to counter China. It wants a US-led front against the growing might of China. As NewsBred reported last year, the US would love a China-India holocaust .
If China were to place its military forces off California's coast and discuss plans to carpet bomb the American mainland, the response of the US is easy to guess. And yet, that's exactly what Washington is doing in its "Pivot to Asia." It's up to India, China and Pakistan to de-escalate rather than spiral the arms race. Trusting each other is better than being a pawn to a master who wants nothing but Asia in flames.