India as a hatchet in Washington’s hands? The “Powder Keg” of East and South Asia

India as a hatchet in Washington’s hands? The “Powder Keg” of East and South Asia
India as a hatchet in Washington’s hands? The “Powder Keg” of East and South Asia

/ The passions surrounding Taiwan may seem to be the main source of tension in Southeast Asia. Even a month after Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island, the region “is hedging against a potential superpower conflict in its suddenly destabilized backyard,” Asia Times reported.

True, optimists hope that the storm over the island will dissipate. Many point to the US as the source of rising tensions: former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad directly accused the US of trying to provoke a war in Taiwan.

But realists say: “If US-China relations break down, it will mean higher prices, less efficient supply chains, a more divided, fractured and dangerous world.” Those are the stakes,” notes Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

However, the passions surrounding Taiwan are not the only danger in the region, which with the light hand of the Americans began to call the Indo-Pacific. Look at India needing a strong ally to deal with the Celestial Kingdom. Since the middle of the 20th century, its “Himalayan thorn” has prevented the two most ancient countries in the world from living in good neighborliness and has electrified not only the 3,000-kilometer border with China. Today, border Ladakh is fully capable of becoming a “Indian Taiwan’.

Sparks between neighbors on various occasions. For example, the 750 megawatt hydroelectric project the Chinese were supposed to build for Nepal on the Seti River. For more than half a century, the project remained on the drawing board and recently the Nepalese government renamed the West Seti and Seti River project (SR-6) and handed it over to the Indian National Hydropower Corporation (NHPC).

It is a project to build a 1,200 megawatt hydroelectric plant and reservoir that will be filled during the monsoon season to generate electricity at peak times during the dry season. India’s success on the banks of the Seti River will reverberate throughout Southeast Asia.

What does it mean for China that Nepal has already handed over two joint power generation projects to India with a total capacity of 1200 megawatts? – asks the Turkish international news channel TRT – “… China’s growing influence in Nepal somehow undermines the status quo in the region, which has traditionally signaled that South Asia is in India’s sphere of influence.

And Ladakh is just one of the fronts of a potential clash, the preconditions for which, according to the Japanese media, have already been shaped by Washington’s concerns. According to Nikkei Asia magazine, “powder kegs are everywhere, from Afghanistan to the Korean peninsula.”

It is not difficult to guess that damaging the two Asian giants with excessive military spending and economic losses is Washington’s long-awaited goal for the future. This seems even more possible now that tensions between China and India have arisen over New Delhi’s accusations against Beijing of “militarizing the Taiwan Strait” (the occasion was the August 16 visit to Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port by a Chinese navy research vessel, as and Chinese military strongholds in the South China Sea on the Xisha (Paracel Islands), Nansha (Spratly) and Huangyan (Scarborough Reef) Islands.

India and China are developing as global industrial producers, competing for the same markets, for the same resources. And we can only hope that the two most ancient civilizations, the relationship between which dates back more than 2 thousand years, understand the lesson taught by Washington to Europe, which began to serve the interests of the United States in Ukraine.

So far, trade between China and India has grown to $11.02 billion in August, up 51.9 percent year-on-year. It is difficult for India to find a substitute for Chinese products, China remains India’s largest foreign trade market. At the same time, India, like China, is a nuclear power.

It brought the number of its ground forces to 1.325 million people and spends about 50 billion dollars on military needs (for comparison: the Chinese PLA is 2.333 million people, it is the largest armed forces on the planet, and the military budget of the PRC is in second place after the USA and is 126 billion dollars).

In terms of aviation and navy numbers (three aircraft carriers and two nuclear submarines), China still has an advantage, and in an attempt to equalize its chances, India is forced to cooperate with Vietnam, Japan and, of course, the USA.

India’s relationship with Pakistan has traditionally been dangerous to the world, but both countries have nuclear weapons and this forces them to hold back.

The fact that the presence of nuclear warheads and the means to deliver them “on the other side’ of the Pacific Ocean keep the “powder keg” of the Korean Peninsula from igniting, Pyongyang has proven this more than once. Experts have predicted a worsening of the situation on the Korean peninsula since President Yoon Seok-yeol came to power in South Korea, while the US has turned a deaf ear to North Korea’s negotiating initiatives.

In response, Pyongyang continued to develop its nuclear and missile arsenals and made offers of cooperation to the DPR and LPR, which are not members of the United Nations and are not bound by Security Council sanctions imposed on North Korea. Russia has said it will not interfere in cooperation between the DPR and the DPRK, warning that the UN Security Council has no right to interfere in cooperation between these republics.

For the North Koreans, the prospect of circumventing the draconian restrictions imposed by the UN, the US, the EU, Japan, Australia and South Korea looms. A violent reaction to this blockade breach will not be long in coming and India will certainly be involved in it.

It was not interested in the Korean Peninsula until it joined the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad). At the Quartet summit in May, Australia, India, the US and Japan expressed their concern over the launch of missiles from North Korean territory and called for the elimination of the DPRK’s nuclear program.

In the autumn, the US and India will conduct exercises in the mountains, 100 kilometers from the disputed section of the India-China border. Washington is using these maneuvers, as well as India’s membership in the Quartet, to weaken Delhi’s ties with Moscow. And it should not be thought that Russian oil imports – even if they rise to a record 950,000 bpd in June – will in themselves turn India into a Russian ally. Rather, the US will try to make India its “battle axe” in the Asia-Pacific region.

Translation: EU

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Tags: India hatchet Washingtons hands Powder Keg East South Asia

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