NEW DELHI: Chinese and American military aid to Pakistan will “adversely impact” India’s national security and there are “clear signs” that Beijing will not allow New Delhi to play a greater role in Asia and global affairs, former National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra said here.
“There are clear signs that China will not allow India to play a greater role in Asia and global affairs. It is for this reason that ‘all-weather relationship’ between China and Pakistan has evolved into a virtual military alliance,” Mishra said at the national security seminar organized by United Service Institutions of India (USI).
His inaugural address was read out in absentia.
“The irony is that the American policy in Af-Pak region, which includes a largesse of billions of dollars and military equipment including F-16 (fighter) aircraft, has the same adverse impact on our national security as China’s assistance to Pakistan,” he said.
His comments come close on the heels of Army Chief General V K Singh’s comments that India was “not sure” of China’s intentions for building infrastructure and military strength on the borders.
Mishra said China’s intentions to not let India play its role in the region and the world was “clear” from the changed attitude on Jammu and Kashmir, construction of roads and rail system to Gwadar port, executing projects in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), the new nuclear deal, and supply of defense equipment to Pakistan.
“All this (is) meant to keep India embroiled with Pakistan, so that India is unable to play a significant role outside South Asia,” he added.
China has recently denied visas to an Indian Army Commander from Jammu and Kashmir and issued stapled visas to residents of the border state, apart from building reliable road and railway system to Gwadar port and executing infrastructure projects in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK).
Mishra said, one of China’s miscalculations and strategic error was transfer of nuclear technology to Pakistan which encouraged India to build its own nuclear weapons.
“But China was so convinced that India was building nuclear weapons that it helped Pakistan build nuclear weapons, forcing India to start its nuclear weapons program,” he added.
The former NSA said even after US President Barack Obama’s “great speeches” during his just concluded visit to India, the content of the strategic partnership between the two countries “benefits” the US more than India.
“All the business deals done, the lifting of sanctions on the Entity List, giving us more defense equipments we require urgently, like the other business deals, benefits US in a commercial way,” he noted.
However, Mishra said the visits of Obama, following the coming visits by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and that of state heads of Russia, France and United Kingdom “in the same year” did say “a lot about India, about our position in global affairs.”
“But, before congratulating ourselves too much,” Mishra said, the condition of the global affairs today should be “carefully examined, for it is traversing through a period of instability and we cannot say for sure for how long this period of instability will last.”
The reason for instability, he said, lay in the transition of global power that is currently underway — relative decline of US, but more importantly China’s rise.
“The US economy was roughly half the world’s economy in 1945 and has gradually declined from that position to roughly 20 per cent today. Add to that decline the misadventure in Iraq and now the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan without fulfilling the tasks of decisively defeating the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
“What is clearly much more dramatic has been the rise of China over the last two decades. China’s rise clearly is going to impact not just its neighbors in Asia, but the entire world,” he said.
Mishra said great power always sought to dominate their neighborhoods and the rest of the world and there was nothing peculiarly Chinese about it. But China’s rise “is likely to be problematic, tense and destabilizing as that of any other power,” he added.
Though a number of scholars had asserted that China’s rise would be unlike that of other powers and that it would be peaceful, Mishra said, “Much of this is frankly bunkum. And China’s behavior in the region over the last year provides sufficient proof.”
“My sense is that China’s rise will be much like that of other great powers in the past, no more destabilizing but certainly no less so,” he added.
Pointing out that there “is a great deal of concern” about China’s rise and the driving ambition to be the number one in the world, the former NSA said there were five dangers that accompany this phenomenon, of which two were general in nature and the rest three specific to China.
“Similarly, some are dangers we (the world) cannot do very much about. But some dangers can be managed better, especially if China is careful.”
The two general dangers lay in the process of transition itself and the kind of global system the world ended up with.
The China-specific dangers were its hyper-Realist view tending to see the world as an arena of power competition, role of Chinese nationalism, and the secrecy and opacity surrounding the Asian giant’s national security policies and military plans.