Brig Dr Vijay Sagar DhemanThird edition of 2+2 dialogue between India and United States took place in New Delhi on 27 Oct 2020. During the meet various security and economic issues were reviewed from prevailing security situation in Eastern Ladakh to Indo Pacific, economic terrorism vigorously being pursued by China, imperialistic hegemonistic overture being persisted by China world over with its ambitious flagship ‘BRI/OBOR’. Many other issues concerning intimate co-operation between India and United States in field of Satellite intelligence, geo spatial data exchange, nuclear scenario, defence technology transfer and logistic sharing arrangement etc were also part of discussion. Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) was signed between the two largest democracies of the world during the meeting. This, in conjunction with earlier Communication Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMMCSA), Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) and Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), provides for a very strong alliance between India and United States as regards the military security in South Asia and Indo Pacific. This is to ensure the territorial integrity of the incumbent nations in South Asia and democratic use of sea lines of communications on high seas in Indo-Pacific for the entire world.The above meet and increasing proximity between the two nations (wherein the Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper, the two principal secretaries had to physically fly in, despite the presidential elections United States less than seven days away and stringent virtual measures dictated by COVID crisis) demonstrated heightened sensitivity towards the Chinese belligerence. It is also a manifestation of the foreign policy trends in vogue across the world to tame the imperialism unleashed by China by way of economic debt traps. This issue has also raised the hackles amongst the opposition ranks regarding possible shift being demonstrated by Modi Govt from old cliques of Non Alignment to alignment with United States. Now the question is ‘Is that so?’ Though every opposition in a democratic setup has the inherent right to question the Govt yet can it justify the rant especially when the Indian Armed Forces are facing China eye-ball to eye-ball. Is it a direct insinuation to lower the morale of armed forces who are defending the territorial integrity of the nation while being ready to sacrifice their lives. Can opposition justify the rant and the timings of this attack.The diplomatic activity today, has undergone a world of change and it has evolved as a doctrine of ‘No Permanent Enemies and No Permanent Friends’. Only thing matters is ‘Nations Self Interests’. Post WWII, the world was bipolar entity, wherein we had two superpowers and the entire world was firmly in grip of two super powers. Few nations practised Non-Alignment under the banner led by India. Nevertheless, India did go in for alliances with United States or USSR as per the requirement of the time. Post disintegration of USSR, world saw the only one super power. This remained till the advent of China on the world stage as potential superpower wherein it started threatening the gullible nations and went in for its BRI/OBOR project to tame the comity of nations economically and militarily. During this period, the trend was to have bilateral to multilateral alliances as per specific needs of the respective nations. In the process, the reality of today is that a nation has to go in for multiple alliances with different countries with specific self-interest. In the bargain the foreign policy experts have to do a tight rope walking diplomatically, as the scenario lends to a nation being in alliance with another nation/nations on a specific issue and yet be against the same nation/nations on another global issue.In this regards India has done extremely well by ensuring to secure the friendly ties with the ‘All Weather Friend’ Russia retaining its military defence cooperation. This has been carefully worked out while being in emerging strategic alliance with United State and other NATO countries. India has also been able to win back some of the SAARC countries by way of BIMSTEC when they still have military alliances with China. Similarly, there is security alliance afoot with ASEAN countries despite China being a member of ASEAN. The geopolitical situation also dictates that India accepts the observer status in SCO and refuses alliance in Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). All this has happened in the background of military standoff with China on LAC.India still has not declared China as the enemy overtly in diplomatic circles, as is evident from the statements of Raj Nath Singh and S Jaishanker during 2+2 Dialogue at New Delhi. The traditional think tanks in India clamouring for subjugation against China have been rooted out and progressive intelligentsia is busy overtime to carry out ‘SWOT’ analysis, ‘DIME’ analysis and to suggest political, diplomatic, economic, cyber space and military recommendations to Govt of India for containing China on LAC and protecting India’s ‘Sea Lines of Communications’ and other maritime interests in Indian Ocean and South China Sea. Notwithstanding the fact that any contemporary nation state has to work out its diplomatic common denominator carefully in this labyrinth of complex strategic nuances based on ‘self interests’. It appears India is doing its homework fairly well.(The writer is leading Defence and Strategic Expert, prolific writer, National TV News Commentator and Internationally Accredited Life Coach)
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