April 24, 2016

Modi Surrenders before Imperialism

CP Bhambhri

NARENDRA Modi, prime minister and RSS pracharak, has grown up in the Sangh Parivar ideological training schools as a pro-American and pro-imperialist and its latest example is provided by the Modi government on April 12, 2016 when it declared its commitment to challenge the Chinese growing maritime power by announcing its decision to sign within weeks or ‘months’ a Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement with US ‘to provide supplies and fuel to each other’s armed forces from this bases’. This logistics agreement with far reaching consequences has been signed between Indian defence minister Manohar Parikar and US defence secretary Ashtor Carter.

The significance of this logistics agreement is that for the first time in the history of post-independence India, a public declaration has been made by the Modi government on April 12, that India is in the ‘camp’ of the United States against China. Further, the joint statement on April 12 stated “to continue working toward(s) other facilitating agreement to enhance military cooperation and technology transfer” between the US and India. A bilateral maritime security dialogue between the two countries will be institutionalised with a view “to enhance ongoing navy-to-navy discussions to cover submachine related issues, besides deepening co-operation in the maritime domain awareness by facilitating a White Shipping Agreement”

US defence secretary Carter expressing great satisfaction over India’s naval agreement observed ‘India is a net security provider’ in the region. This agreement is a game changer because India has never publically positioned itself as anti-China especially by accepting an alliance of such a nature with the United States of America which is strengthening its naval presence in Asia-Pacific and South China Sea and Indian Ocean directly to confront China.

The UPA I and II from 2004 to 2014 did not agree to the American proposal of logistics exchange because the Manmohan Singh government consciously followed a foreign policy of non-antagonism towards China specially in public and India made every effort to keep China engaged in negotiations on issues of bilateral differences. India-China bilateralism was the key note of Congress led governments from 2004 to 2014 and any open and public association with American naval and maritime ambitions by India would have sent a direct signal to China that India is abandoning its ‘bilateralism’ in favour of an anti-China alliance with the United States. Modi has clearly and unambiguously announced that unlike its predecessor UPA government, his government is going to compete and confront China by adding to its maritime power in partnership with the United States. The logistics agreement of April 12 is a big step forward by the Modi government which has openly chosen to announce India-US defence partnership specially to send a message to China.   

The objective of ACSA  (Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement) is “reciprocal provision of logistic support, supplies and services to the military forces of one party by the other party in return for either cash payment or the reciprocal provision of logistic support, supplies and services to the military forces of the other party”. The real significance of Narendra Modi is that he has affected a complete breach with the past traditions of India’s foreign policy of non-alignment and keeping a safe distance from any alliance politics with the imperialists as shown by the logistics agreement of April 12. This significance cannot be appreciated without focussing sharp attention on the ideology of State power as defined by the Hindu Sangh Parivar. Modi is a swayamsevak of the RSS and the prime minister of India is engaged in promoting and pursuing the goals of State power as visualised in the philosophy of Sangh Parivar.

A few facts may be mentioned that Modi’s capitulation before US imperialism and the strategies followed by his government beginning with 2014 are solely motivated by the idea of great Bharat Mata which is militarily well equipped to confront its opponents like Pakistan and China. A highly militarised and modernised Hindu State can stand up and face the challenges, real or imaginary of its competitors. First, the Modi government has opened up defence sector production to India’s monopoly capitalists and foreign monopoly transnational corporations under the category of public-private partnership system.

Second, VD Savarkar, the ideologue of Hindutva and Hindu rashtra had clearly stated “Hinduise India, militarise Hindu”. It is not without reason that KB Hedgewar, the founder of the RSS in 1925 had emphasised the ‘physical training of young Hindus”, because “weak Hindus” would not be able to face the external enemies. Hence the RSS firmly promotes the idea of ‘physically strong Hindu’ and translated properly, if RSS can capture State power it will make Hindu state a military super-power. The making of a Hindu military super power is a fundamental ideological commitment of the RSS pracharak prime minister Narendra Modi.

Third, Narendra Modi has completely abandoned the well-established tradition of ‘civilian control and supremacy over armed forces’ by openly and unambiguously ‘patronising’ in public the Indian army and symbolically appointing General VK Singh, a controversial retired army chief, as a minister in the Modi government. Not only this, the tragic death of a few soldiers at Siachen Glacier in January 2016 was publically celebrated as the highest sign of ‘patriotism’ to show to the common man that any sacrifice like that of ‘soldiers’ for the cause of defence of India was the most precious display of love for motherland and patriotism. Glorification of sacrifices made by soldiers while defending motherland beyond a point can be dangerous because men in uniform try to think themselves as ‘special-super patriots’.

Patriotism and nationalism cannot be projected as ‘special’ for some because all citizens of India are equally patriotic. The Modi government for the first time has created a hierarchy of patriots with an announcement that defence expenditure of the government of India will have the highest national priority much above welfare schemes for the poor like expenditure on education, health and national employment guarantee scheme for the rural poor. These above mentioned facts clearly show that the Modi government has a special ideologically driven defence policy based on the principle that Hindu India needs strong military muscles and financial and political costs of militarisation of Hindu India are irrelevant factors while pursuing the larger goal of making Bharat a super-military power.

The complete surrender to America by the Modi government can be understood only if the larger project of Hindu India is kept in mind because in the scheme of greatness of Bharat, China is perceived as a major threat and this can be countered only by becoming a ‘camp follower’ of America. Modi does not care even for an elementary fact that America is determined to pursue its own national interests and it finds India as a willing camp follower in spite of the fact that America is supplying all kinds of arms to Pakistan, considered by Indians as an ‘unfriendly country’. While Modi is blindly following American line of action in Asia, Robert Blackwill, former US ambassador to India on April 12 observed that the sale of F-16s by the United States to Pakistan is a ‘dramatic example of the failure of American foreign policy’

India has been protesting against American policy of ‘militarisation of Pakistan’ without any impact on the American policy makers because Americans know that India itself wants to be very ‘close’ to America. Americans do not take the Modi government’s opposition to the sale of F-16s by the US to Pakistan because the Americans know that India of Modi is always knocking at their doors for military cooperation to achieve its misplaced and unachievable goals of becoming a strong military super-power in the South Asian region.            

The upshot of above description is quite clear that Modi has surrendered before the Americans and the latest example of logistics exchange between the two countries is not the end of the journey because Americans have found out that Modi’s India is ever willing to deepen its bonds with their country in the fond hope of emerging as a super Hindu military State with the goods supplied by Americans and Modi is ready to pay any price to the Americans for achieving his goal of militarisation of Hindu India. Modi is unwise to announce his public identification of China as India’s opponent and accepting America’s umbrella to confront China.