Some analysts, including a recent opinion piece in Al Jazeera, predict that South Asia (or more specifically the Indian Subcontinent) is poised to be the next worst crisis hotbed of the world – with the region having three belligerent nuclear power nations who are also neighbours – India, China and Pakistan – with historical border disputes and the enmity thereof that has given rise to many wars and consistent rush of skirmishes.
Well, to clear things first, India and China have had historical enmity and border disputes but both countries are now big enough economies to engage in a full scale bilateral war – China’s is the world’s second largest economy and India is the third largest. They cannot and they should not afford even the border skirmishes now and the recent developments indicate that.
Yes, there are problems but these are now basically rhetorical in nature as China’s authoritarian regime needs some tough posturing to send home the message. Ideally, in the prevailing circumstances, when China is now more of a ‘capitalist’ communist state, things should not go beyond that. And it should be seen in the context of India’s space and military prowess that can harm China enough to come to the negotiating table in case of a full blown war.
The sanctity of China’s authoritarian regime lies in how it manages and grows its economy. The nation certainly cannot afford a Tiananmen now.
And with Pakistan, though China is the country’s historical ally, it is not going to the extent to support Pakistan in case of any hostility with India – coupled with the fact the US is now there to support India against China. Also, China is facing Muslim insurgency in its Muslim dominated regions that gets lifeline from Pakistan.
Any military confrontation between India and China is damaging for the economies of both of the nations and they will not risk it – let alone the spectre of full scale war.
And if a military confrontation will be damaging for India, it will be annihilating for Pakistan. A blown out hostility or a full scale war with a bigger country that is many times you militarily and economically will be like inviting ‘the end of days’ for its all ‘powerful’ military that now stands nowhere near to India.
The future of the Indian Subcontinent will be driven by these ground-based realities – and the spectre of an economic meltdown thereof – and not by the incessant war rhetoric of Pakistan – and not by the toughly-worded posturing by India and China.
So, where are the next real crisis hotbeds – the conflict theatres so volatile that they can send the world upside down – a world bound by a globalized economy – the Korean Peninsula – or the South China Sea?
The ‘capitalist’ communist logic with China applies even here. But, certainly, we all need to be worried about North Korea and its young, obese, morose but mercurial dictator who is also insane.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/