Machiavelli advises the rulers to have a lion-like image outwardly, and act upon the traits of goat inwardly. In his sense, a good ruler should be a good opportunist and hypocrite. While echoing Machiavelli, Morgenthau points out that sometimes, rulers act upon immoral activities like deceit, fraud and falsehood to fulfill their selfish aims. In one way or the other, these political philosophers also favour double game as part of shrewd diplomacy. But, India is openly acting upon the discarded theories of the past political thinkers in the modern era, which have proved that India is the most opportunist ally of Russia and the Unites States.
In this regard, during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two-day visit to India, Russian President Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who also took part in the Russian-Indian Business Forum and apart from other agreements, signed on October 5, last year the $5 billion S-400 air defence system deal amid a threat of sanctions from the US.
Prime Minister Modi said in a joint address with Putin, “Russia has stood by India through time and has played a crucial role in India’s growth story…Russia has been an important supplier of defence hardware to India for decades.”
However, the S-400 is one of the world’s most advanced long-range air defence systems. China was the first nation to buy the S-400 missile system in 2014.
The US has hinted at tough sanctions against any nation that buys advanced military hardware from Russia. Under a new law-Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)—the US imposes sanctions on any country that has significant transactions with Iran, North Korea or Russia.
India had already indicated that it will go ahead with the purchase of S-400 deal notwithstanding the US sanctions. In this regard, Indian Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa has told media, “As and when the government approves it, delivery (of the missiles) will be in 24 months.”
Ignoring America’s sanctions over S-400 deal, Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat said: “India follows independent policy”
As India is increasing her bonhomie with US, the pinned expectations with the visit of the President Putin was exaggerated in the backdrop that American President Trump had last year signed an executive order, paving the way for slapping crippling sanctions on countries and foreign entities and individuals violating the CAATSA.
In the same background, Indian agreement with Moscow for purchase of the latest defence equipment seems unrealistic and a political ploy of Modi’s government which shows that India is an opportunist ally.
In fact, extremist government of Modi is deceiving both the rival countries-Russia and the US by following strategy of fundamentalist Hindus-Chanakya (Say something else and do something else).
While indicating Indo-Russia relations, even some Indian media reports, including those of the Western countries have said that these ties exposed the “Indian duplicitous role”/ditching Russia by citing LEMOA/other agreements with the US and undue preferences for the US.
Analysts opined that in the backdrop of growing Indo-US bonhomie and LEMOA etc, perception about India becoming a “Client State of US” was solidifying. Moreover, under the same syndrome, India was also drifting away from the Cold War ally Russia. As New Delhi is part of few regional and international alliances, having a strong Russian role, she badly needed to neutralize the perception with some activity to prove her independent status. In the same background, India re-engaged Russia by signing multi-billion dollar deal of S-400 surface-to-air missile system.
Notably, during the Cold War era, India joined the Russian block and extracted maximum benefits from the former Soviet Union. But, after the disintegration of the former Soviet Union, gradually, New Delhi left the former Russia and started strengthening her relations with the US which emerged as the sole superpower. The main aim behind was also to extract maximum benefits from America.
It is of particular attention that during his first visit to New Delhi, on November 6, 2010. President Barack Obama announced the measures, America would take regarding removal of Indian space and defence companies from a restricted “entities list”, and supported Indian demand membership of four key global nuclear nonproliferation regimes.
And as part of the double standards in relation to India and Pakistan, America set aside the Indian poor record regarding the safety of nuclear weapons and related materials. Despite, Indian violations of various international agreements and its refusal to sign Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Washington signed a pact of nuclear civil technology with New Delhi in 2008. During American President Barack Obama’s visit to India, on January 25, 2016, the US and India announced a breakthrough on the pact which would allow American companies to supply New Delhi with civilian nuclear technology.
Especially, America is a potential military supplier to India. US also pressurized IAEA and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to grant a waiver to New Delhi for obtaining civil nuclear trade on larger scale.
In the pretext of countering China, Washington has continued favouring India’s programme of advancement and modernization of nuclear weapons. America supports Indian nuclear programme as part of anti-China and anti-Pakistan approach. Beijing is apprehensive about the emerging threat, as during the last visit of Obama to New Delhi, the intent of President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Modi was quite clear, while mentioning about free sea lanes and air passages in the South China Sea. President Trump is also pursuing the policy of his predecessor in this respect, as in the recent past, during his meeting with Prime Minister Modi, he showed similar approach.
Apart from obtaining atomic weapons from the US and other Western countries, New Delhi is, clandestinely, importing nuclear arms, components and submarines from Israel. In this connection, Zionist-led Indo-Israeli secret diplomacy could be assessed from the interview of Israel’s ambassador to India, Mark Sofer, published in the Indian weekly Outlook on February 18, 2008. Regarding India’s defense arrangements with Tel Aviv, Sofer had surprisingly revealed, “We do have a defense relationship with India, and “with all due respect, the secret part will remain a secret.”
It is worth-mentioning that like Americans, during Putin’s trip of New Delhi, Indian media also tried to distort the image of Pakistan in the eyes of Russians by reviving the old blame game regarding cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan. But, Russian President paid no attention.
Meanwhile, in the recent past, after the visit of the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Islamabad and visit of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to America, positive change has occurred between the strained relations of the US and Pakistan. Now, ties between the two countries are improving. Positive change in Pak-US relationship has resulted into positive change between Afghan-Pakistan ties. Therefore, Kabul has re-opened Pakistan consulate in Jalalabad. These developments have also irritated India.
Besides, Pakistan has been further strengthening its relations with China, after signing the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It has also inclined towards the Russian Federation which also needs the latter. Particularly, the US-led secret strategy which is part of Zionist-led American double game compelled Pakistan to fortify its relations with Russia.
In this respect, an agreement has been signed on August 7, this year between Pakistan and Russia for training of Pakistani troops in Russia, decided at culmination of first meeting of joint Military Consultative Committee (JMCC) in Islamabad. Pakistan’s defence ties with Moscow are growing strong with each passing day and this pact has opened new avenues of cooperation between the two countries. A desire from both sides has already been seen in the near past in boosting economic and political relations. Obviously, these moves are seen with suspicion by the US and India, including Israel.
Meanwhile, Russia has offered Pakistan counter-terrorism equipments. The package includes 10 MI-17 helicopters of unarmed configuration. When Russian military Chief Col-Gen. Alexander Postnikov visited Pakistan in May 2011, he had discussed with the former Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani—the possibility of expanding defence ties by holding joint military exercises, exchanging trainees and trainers and selling and buying weapons. Moscow has also offered to sell Sukhoi Superjet 100, a modern aircraft with a capacity of up to 95 passengers, while upgradation of Pakistan Steel Mills by Russia is being finalized. In the recent past, it was the first time that joint military exercises were conducted between the two countries in Pakistan.
Islamabad, Moscow and Beijing share common opinion that the presence of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan failed to restore stability in that war-torn country.
On September 27, last year, Pakistan and Russia signed a historic $10 billion offshore gas pipeline agreement in Moscow. The project will help Russia cement its place in the energy market of Pakistan. Under the agreement, Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS), a state-owned Pakistani company, will collaborate with Russia’s energy giant Gazprom, to execute the mega project. Pakistan will import some 500 million to 1 billion cubic foot of gas from Russia daily, which would be transported via sea link. The pipeline will connect Pakistan and Russia and act as an energy corridor between the two countries. After the agreement, Islamabad will gain access to the Russian market in order to boost its overall exports which remained stagnant during five-year tenure of the previous government.
A report quoted SGS Managing Director Mobin Saulat as saying that the, “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has now entered the industrialization phase and needs gas for duty and tax-free Special Economic Zones (SEZs). The offshore gas pipeline will meet energy needs of industries being set up in the economic zones along CPEC route.”
These projects are being termed the game changer for Pakistan, as they will not only lead to regional connectivity, but will also meet growing energy needs of the country.
These developments show that Russia could also supply Pakistan-the S-400 missile system, if requested by Islamabad.
Undoubtedly, we can conclude that India is the most opportunity ally of Russia and the US. But, such opportunism will backfire on New Delhi in the near future.