INDIA 2020: ‘SUPERPOWER’ OR STILL ‘SUPER POOR’?

 

The hopes of India’s over 1.3 billion people were shattered after their country objectively failed to become the “superpower” that many of their leading “influencers” (read: propagandists) predicted it would be by 2020, with this finally being acknowledged by the popular Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party last week after it did an about-face by pleading for Trump to reclassify their country as a “developing” one because it “is miles away from the status of developed countries on parameters like education, health, employment, cleanliness and poverty alleviation” and thus supposedly deserves to retain tariff-free access to the American market.

“Superpower 2020”?

Indians entered the current decade with bated breath, having been indoctrinated since shortly before the turn of the century with the completely false expectation that their country would finally become a “superpower” by 2020. They didn’t know exactly what this would mean in practice, but it sounded prestigious enough and was a welcome distraction from the abject poverty that marks many of their lives. After all, Prime Minister Modi told them last March that they were now a “space superpower” after successfully conducting an anti-satellite missile test. He then declared less than a month later ahead of the parliamentary elections in May of that year that only he could fulfill India’s “superpower” dreams. Then-BJP President Amit Shah seconded this statement shortly thereafter prior to it being reiterated by Modi’s Minister of State in September when he promised his people that India is on the “verge of being a superpower”. Once again, nobody ever really explained what being a “superpower” entailed, but the hyper-nationalist population wanted so desperately for the rest of the world to recognize them as one anyhow.

An Epic Disappointment Decades In The Making

That was why it was a disappointment of epic proportions for them that India entered 2020 without becoming the envy of the world like they falsely expected. The popular Indian online news site Scroll.in published a powerful piece at the time titled “India Superpower 2020: Tracing the brief history of a spectacularly incorrect prediction“, which touched upon the 1998 origin of the “superpower 2020” prediction and then explained its viral evolution across the proceeding years to the point where it basically became the country’s unofficial slogan over the last decade. Those who had earlier expressed their reservations about this unrealistic expectation were viciously attacked for being so-called “anti-nationals”, and if they weren’t Indian, then they were usually accused of “Hinduphobia”, but those defamatory abuses are no longer relevant after the influential Shiv Sena Hindu nationalist party publicly acknowledged that India isn’t even a “developed nation”, let alone anywhere near becoming a “superpower”.

The US Calls India’s “Superpower” Bluff

This was very important development because the organization contributes to framing the national narrative, meaning that Indians might never talk about being a “superpower” again, as if what Scroll.in described in their article as the nation’s “collective delusion” over the past two decades never happened at all. Shiv Sena didn’t suddenly switch their narrative from one of impending “superpower” status to that of India simply being yet another “super poor” “Global South” country no different from dozens of others just for sake of factual accuracy but because the nation stands to lose several billion dollars a year if it sticks to that debunked script. The US recently reclassified India as a “developed economy” ahead of Trump’s visit to the country later this month where he’s expected to sign major military and trade deals with America’s new strategic partner. Asia Times reported that this decision was made for technical reasons since India’s share of world trade was above the 0.5% threshold qualifying it for “developing economy” status, hence why nearly 2000 of its products are no longer eligible for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) regime that had previously given $5.7 billion in imports to the US duty-free status in 2017, thus making it the largest beneficiary of this program.

$5 Billion In Economic Restrictions Got Shiv Sena To Switch Their Narrative

Shiv Sena, forgetting all about everything that it had said in the previous years about India’s supposedly imminent “superpower” status, furiously lashed out at the US last week by describing its move as “a big blow to our economy…a big crisis for India.” Walking back its entire narrative of India’s “miraculous growth” which had hitherto won it millions of devoted followers all across the country, the Hindu nationalist party repeated the same observations that the nation’s critics at home and abroad have been saying for years already, namely that “India is miles away from the status of developed countries on parameters like education, health, employment, cleanliness and poverty alleviation.” Evidently, speaking incessantly about India’s supposedly impending “superpower” status is useful for winning votes but becomes economically counterproductive the moment that the US acts like it believes that false narrative and then makes moves to eliminate the country’s preferential market access as a result. With $5.7 billion on the line, Shiv Sena had no choice but to tacitly admit that it and everyone else who had been celebrating India’s rise as a “superpower” were simply lying this whole time.

It’s No Longer “Hinduphobic” To Share Facts About India

There are some crucial lessons that other countries can learn from India’s humiliating experience, the most obvious of which is for political leaders to be more responsible when talking to the public about their country’s future status. Giving the largely impoverished masses unrealistically high expectations of global prestige using a never-defined slogan such as “superpower” is deceptive to the extreme and strongly suggests that they were deliberately manipulating their people for political purposes, likely to distract them from their dire economic situation with delusions of international grandeur. It’s all fun and games until the deadline for “superpower status” finally passed with a whimper and then the US took India at its word by restricting duty-free market access for $5.7 billion worth of its exports, thus dealing a heavy blow to some of its companies which were dependent on that regime in order to remain competitive. Shiv Sena is right, “India is miles away from the status of developed countries on parameters like education, health, employment, cleanliness and poverty alleviation”, but they were wrong for lying about that all this time, though at least those who repeat the party’s new rhetoric can finally speak freely without fear of being attacked as “anti-national” or “Hinduphobic”.


By Andrew Korybko
Source: One World

Kashmir: And their Conscience Didn’t Stir!

See Behind The Veil

The United Nations’ Security Council met yesterday, August 16, to ponder upon the noise created by Pakistan & China over India’s iron-handed fascist move to alter the disputed status of the ex-princely state of British India i.e. Jammu and Kashmir – the unfinished affair pertaining to the partition of British India in 1947.  After over 50 years the issue of Kashmir was again discussed by the high and mighty sitting on the Security Council.  Sadly the truth is if China was not so vociferous in her concern, the closed-door meeting of the 5 permanent Security Council members would not have occurred in the first place.  Yet despite China’s stern stand on the matter, the other Big Four i.e. America, Britain, Russia and France, did not feel the situation was pressing enough to convene an emergency session of the Council to further deliberate upon the fate of Muslim Kashmir, the gravity…

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South Asia’s Role In The Pentagon’s “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report”

By Andrew Korybko
Source

The US’ recently released “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report” envisages India playing a key role in this vast transregional space in order to “contain” China, while Pakistan is conspicuously absent from the text despite being one of the few nuclear weapons states, among the most populous countries in the world, and the transit route for China’s overland access to the Afro-Asian Ocean via CPEC.

“Containing” China

The US officially unveiled its “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report” over the weekend and tasked Defense Secretary Shanahan with sharing a summary of it during the Shangri-La Dialogue forum in Singapore. The gist of the document is that the US is committed to “containing” China through the crucial support of its many regional partners per what can be described as the “Lead From Behind” stratagem. South Asia, and especially aspiring hegemon India, naturally figures prominently in this vision, though the conspicuous absence of the global pivot state of Pakistan from the text — one of the few nuclear weapons states, among the most populous countries in the world, and the transit route for China’s overland access to the Afro-Asian Ocean via CPEC — hints that the US wants to “isolate” it from this seemingly inclusive geostrategic concept. Interestingly, even landlocked and mountainous Nepal has a part to play in this paradigm, but that’s probably because the US regards it as a zone of Indo-Chinese competition unlike Pakistan which is solidly in the Chinese camp, hence why the US sees no need to touch upon it at all because it likely regards the country as a “lost cause”.

The Integral Role Of India

There are only several pages that specifically deal with South Asia (33-36), though India is also briefly  mentioned in other parts as well. The US emphasizes the “common outlook” that it shares with India and how New Delhi’s “Act East” policy of ASEAN engagement supposedly proves its commitment to the “free and open Indo-Pacific” concept, Washington’s new euphemism for “containing” China. The “convergence of strategic interests” between these two Great Powers manifests itself through India’s unique designation as the US’ only “Major Defense Partner” and the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue that was commenced last year between their Defense and Foreign Ministers. The document also lauds the effect that COMCASA will have in improving “interoperability” between their armed forces, though it noticeably omits any mentioning of the LEMOA pact that allows them to use some of the other’s military facilities on a case-by-case “logistical” basis. Even so, the Pentagon praises the increased “scope, complexity, and frequency” of military exercises with India and the upcoming tri-service exercises later this year, on top of their rapidly expanding arms trade.

South Asian Satellite States

As for the other countries of South Asia (apart from Pakistan and Bhutan), the US speaks highly about the “increased cooperation on mutual logistics arrangements” that it agreed to with Sri Lanka earlier this year, as well as the “avenues to expand security cooperation” with the Maldives after its “democratic transition” late last year. Concerning Bangladesh, it’s described as having a “strong defense relationship” with the US and being an “important partner for regional stability and security”. The “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report” also applauds the “annual Bilateral Defense Dialogue” between the two for “setting the strategic direction of their relationship”. Lastly, landlocked and mountainous Nepal is curiously included in the text despite not being a country that ordinarily comes to mind when one thinks of the Afro-Pacific (“Indo-Pacific”) region. The document talks about the opportunity for expanding defense ties in light of last year’s “Land Forces Talks” and several landmark visits by high-ranking US defense officials, including the head of USINDOPACOM.

Network-Centric Proxy Warfare

While the aforementioned South Asian states are implicitly conceived of as Indian satellites whose overall role in the larger paradigm is very limited, the aspiring hegemon itself is expected to fulfill a transregional one as regards the Pacific part of the Afro-Pacific (“Indo-Pacific”) concept. Later on in the document the Pentagon talks about how India is contributing to the formation of a “networked region” by being one of several trilateral partnerships that the US and Japan are forming. It also points out the “emerging intra-Asian security relationships” that India is bilaterally involved in with Japan and Vietnam, as well as the trilateral one between itself, Japan, and Australia. Furthermore, the Quad of the US, India, Japan, and Australia is mentioned once, but it doesn’t play a major role in policy formation, probably because Washington considers it better to expand its “Chinese Containment Coalition” beyond those three major states to include medium and smaller ones too, thus allowing it to incorporate the entire Afro-Pacific region into this concept.

Concluding Thoughts

In sum, the US’ “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report” envisages India playing a leading role in “containing” China in the Afro-Asian (“Indian”) Ocean region and then using its strategic partnerships with Japan, Australia, and Vietnam to expand its influence into the Pacific portion of this transregional space. Likewise, its very presence in its eponymous ocean serves as the gateway for more robust Japanese military involvement on the other side of ASEAN, with these South and East Asian Great Powers strategically uniting in the ASEAN middle ground between them. For all intents and purposes and apart from the exceptional involvement of landlocked Nepal (Laos, and Mongolia), the “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report” deals entirely with maritime nations and therefore naturally has a naval focus, though it’s still strange that nothing is mentioned about Pakistan when considering that S-CPEC+ is China’s multimodal connectivity shortcut to Africa. In any case, Islamabad’s lack of inclusion in this policy planning document doesn’t take away from its global pivot significance, it just means that an entirely separate strategy report will likely need to be written for countering it.

Iran’s Relations with India and Pakistan. Couldn’t Be More Different — Astute News

Iran is becoming increasingly desperate after the US intensified the economic component of its Hybrid War on the country, and while Indian Prime Minister Modi snubbed the Islamic Republic’s top diplomat during his visit to the country earlier this month and humiliatingly sent him back to his homeland empty-handed, his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan warmly […]

via Iran’s Relations with India and Pakistan. Couldn’t Be More Different — Astute News

Russia Took Pakistan’s Side In South Asia’s Tit-For-Tat Missile Tests — Eurasia Future

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov staunchly defended Pakistan’s “sovereign right to take care of its security” amidst South Asia’s tit-for-tat missile tests, with this unprecedented statement not only signifying the strength of the Russian-Pakistani Strategic Partnership, but also potentially being a response to the Indian Ambassador to the US’ […] The post Russia Took…

via Russia Took Pakistan’s Side In South Asia’s Tit-For-Tat Missile Tests — Eurasia Future

US Exposes Indian Lies Over F-16 “Downing” — Eurasia Future

Indian officials insist that they downed a Pakistani F-16 on 27 February, the same day during which Pakistan successfully downed an Indian MIG-21 before rescuing and tending to the pilot who has now been released back to India. It has now been over a month since India first made its […] The post US Exposes…

via US Exposes Indian Lies Over F-16 “Downing” — Eurasia Future

The IN-US Plot Against The RF-PK Partnership Got Facebook To Ban Pakistani Pages

By Andrew Korybko
Source

Facebook’s decision to ban 103 Pakistani pages earlier this week might have been done in order to comply with India’s new domestic legislation prohibiting “unlawful” content on social media such as the “inconvenient” information that would have presumably been shared on those pages debunking the country’s Bollywood-like lies about the latest conflict and raising awareness about India’s state-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir, but the move also suggests a broader American-influenced infowar motivation to advance the bizarre theory recently  put forth by an Indian academic alleging that Russia and Pakistan are now brothers-in-arms waging Hybrid Wars across the world.

Business & Politics

All of Pakistan and the world at large is wondering what really led to Facebook’s unexpected decision to ban 103 Pakistani pages earlier this week for what the company alleged was so-called “coordinated inauthentic behavior”, with it initially appearing likely that this was done in order to suppress the information networks most critical of Indian Prime Minister Modi on their platform ahead of the onset of that country’s general elections next week. That very likely played a part in the timing behind Facebook’s decision, which wouldn’t be surprising because the tech company has a vested interest in supporting the incumbent leader in its largest market, or at least wouldn’t want to get on his bad side and therefore felt compelled to do his government a “favor” upon possible request.

It therefore might not even be that Facebook “deviously” decided to play a partisan role in this process but that it didn’t believe it had a choice if it wanted to continue expanding its presence in the country, though it obviously needed to concoct a so-called “probable cause” in order to do so, ergo the unverified claims about “coordinated inauthentic behavior”. Even so, it’s a murky business speculating about backdoor deals between Facebook and various governments, which is why it’s pertinent to raise awareness about the “legal” basis upon which India could have very likely made their request to get some of the platform’s most popular Pakistani pages taken down, and that’s the country’s recent promulgation of a controversial piece of legislation prohibiting “unlawful” content on social media.

Censoring Social Media

Reuters specifically mentioned in its report about this back in January that it includes any material that affects the “sovereignty and integrity of India”, which is vague catch-all designation that could have easily been applied to the material that those banned Pakistani pages presumably shared debunking India’s Bollywood-like lies about the latest conflict and raising awareness about its state-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir. Even something as simple as sharing the Pakistani map that includes the territory of Gilgit-Baltistan as part of Pakistan and not India like New Delhi claims it is per its maximalist approach to the Kashmir conflict could have been enough to violate that law, like I wrote at the time in my piece about how “Social Media Might Ban The Pakistani Map At India’s Behest”.

Considering that Facebook has self-interested reasons in staying on the good side of the authorities in its largest market, there’s a certain logic to why it might have banned those 103 Pakistani pages if India claimed that they broke its domestic law and might have been engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” as part of an alleged perception management operation conducted by its neighbor. That would certainly be enough of a “plausible” reason for Facebook to take action against those pages and give it a “legitimate” excuse to hide behind in protecting its future profits in that market by doing New Delhi’s bidding. It’s likely that this was the case, but a further analysis needs to be conducted about the way in which most of the Mainstream Media reported on this decision.

The “Gerasimov Of South Asia”

Reuters, which usually sets the tone that most other Mainstream Media outlets follow, reported in its original piece breaking this news that Pakistan’s Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces, was somehow or another supposedly connected to the 103 banned pages. They also curiously included a sentence asserting that “The military’s spokesman has often mentioned the term ‘fifth generation warfare’ during press conferences, referring to an unconventional battlefield that includes the dissemination and countering of information on social media”. This was clearly a dog whistle of innuendo implying that the ISPR was waging “fifth generation warfare” on Facebook through those pages, which in turn triggered Indian media to run with that narrative and call ISPR spokesman Asif Ghafoor the “Gerasimov of South Asia”.

That’s not incidental either, since Ghafoor and Russian General Chief of Staff are both being deliberately misportrayed as practitioners of “fifth generation warfare” despite both of them merely warning about the said tactics that their adversaries are using against them and never saying anything about their own country’s capabilities in this field or intention to “fight fire with fire” like has been falsely alleged. In fact, the false comparisons might go even further because there’s a high likelihood that Pakistan’s ISPR will be compared to Russia’s “Internet Research Agency” (IRA) as India copies a page out of the US’ infowar playbook to pin the blame for “fifth generation warfare” on its hated enemy just like America did with Russia in order to distract from its own employment of these technologies.

The Indo-American Plot Against The Russian-Pakistani Partnership

My professional prediction as a Hybrid War expert (officially recognized as such by the NATO Defense College in two papers that they published citing my 2015 bookon the topic) isn’t without precedent, however, since I wrote an analysis earlier this week about how “A Leading Indian Academic Just Alleged A Far-Fetched Russian-Pakistani Plot” strangely suggesting that the two countries are brothers-in-arms waging Hybrid Wars across the world. In hindsight, that weaponized narrative actually appears to have inspired the aforementioned piece about Ghafoor being the “Gerasimov of South Asia” and therefore laid the basis for the first-ever joint Indo-American infowar against the Russian-Pakistani Strategic Partnership out of fear that the Great Power convergence of the Afro-Eurasian “balancer” and the global pivot state is a game-changing development that’s bound to geostrategically reshape the Eastern Hemisphere.

Pakistan, and not the Indian “rogue state”, is the focal point of Russia’s “Return to South Asia” because of the “balancing” benefits that Moscow expects to derive from Islamabad vis-à-vis Beijing and New Delhi, albeit for different reasons but in pursuit of the same end of stabilizing hemispheric affairs. While this is welcomed by China, it’s regarded by India and its new American patron as a threat to their grand strategic interests, which is why they’re doing everything that they can to thwart it through their combined infowar means of manufacturing fake news about a supposed Russian-Pakistani global Hybrid War plot against them both. Due to New Delhi, “Russia’s ‘Deep State’ Divisions Over South Asia Are Spilling Over Into The Public”, but it’s also clumsily making many mistakes such as when “India’s Ambassador To Russia Lied About Rejecting International Mediation”.

Concluding Thoughts

Reflecting on the insight that was revealed in this analysis, the case can strongly be made that Facebook banned 103 Pakistani pages based on fabricated claims by India alleging that the targets were engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” as part of a “fifth generation warfare plot” and possibly in violation of the country’s recently passed legislation banning “unlawful” content such as what could have been presumed to have been shared on those pages about the latest conflict and Kashmir. Facebook, not wanting to jeopardize its growing presence in its largest market anywhere in the world, promptly complied with the request, which then created a news event that was subsequently spun by the Mainstream Media to propagate the US-influenced weaponized narrative about a Russian-Pakistani global Hybrid War conspiracy.

The US and India have clearly joined forces in a plot to thwart the Russian-Pakistani Strategic Partnership, afraid as they are about the game-changing implications that the increasingly close cooperation between the Afro-Eurasian “balancer” and the global pivot state is poised to have on the outcome of the New Cold War. The most visible manifestation of this is the coordinated infowar being waged by these two unipolar allies against their multipolar targets, which largely relies on the dramatic buzzwords of Hybrid War and “fifth generation warfare” as unmistakable dog whistles to signal to their surrogates to add on to this storyline with each subsequent article until an entirely artificial reality is constructed in the Mainstream Media which serves the purpose of justifying the US & India’s further preplanned joint measures against Russia & Pakistan.

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