A dear friend of mine has been impressing me with what the biggest aviation deal in history by India with the United States and UK — Air India with Boeing and Airbus —has achieved.
Count it if you could, he rattled off:
- The Boeing manufacturing plan in Bengaluru would be worth much more than Rs 8,000 crores annually as it is now;
- Tatas already have a J/V with Boeing for Hyderabad plant which produces various components and avionics for Boeing planes from all over the world;
- Airbus too similarly has a joint venture deal with Tatas for a manufacturing plant in Vadodara to produce military aircrafts;
- Lockheed Martin, already in India for decades, would open a heavy maintenance centre in Bharat, the first of its kind in Asia and third in the world after the United States and Canada.
- And that this $80 billion deal is worth much more than the GDP of 140 countries.
He then whispered in my ears:
Above all, with General Polls due in 2024, it would ensure that the United States won’t cause anarchy in India with its “deep state” of political-judiciary-media octopus which uses the limbs of Human Rights-Democracy-Muslims etc bogey to choke the recalcitrant governments of the world into submission.
My friend indeed built a serious case with his reasons but I am not very sure if the imperialists and colonialists of our world could be satiated with mere financial deals which brings jobs to tens of thousands.
I mean the financial genie has been in their bottle for centuries and as for jobs to its people, its not a priority of West which allows its multinationals to outsource its production where land, resources and men come at throwaway cost. Jobs for own people? You must be joking.
I am also not sure if the West could be thus wooed if India doesn’t fall in line on its Indo-Pacific war-games which could break out much before 2030. (The outer limit of year 2030 is what US is advised, by when it must curb China or be ready to lose its control of the world.)
In these next few years, West would be fighting for its survival if Russia comes out of Ukraine unscathed (most likely) and along with China, and institutions such as BRICS and SCO—to which India is an integral keel— looks for an alternative to Dollar in trade.
The United States, as we know, would just be an island away from Eurasia, and Africa, which has most of world’s population and energy, if petrodollar isn’t the only means they trade.
If Dollar is gone, the US is gone — Period.
So, all obvious goods notwithstanding, this aviation deal alone would mean little for the West if India offers it on one hand and promotes a Dollar-alternative world on the other.
I know India’s illustrious foreign minister Dr S. Jaishankar keeps repeating that all India is interested is to secure the best trade deal for its mammoth population. And that all it wants is peace for all countries to grow.
Yet this option won’t be available to India despite all the platitudes which US offers as two of world’s biggest democracies, the biggest trade surplus for New Delhi etc if India refuses to be a part of its war-games in Indo-Pacific.
So either India is with the US on its Indo-Pacific agenda, and does little to hurt Dollar, or its against Washington.
Why India is suddenly so important to the United States?
Well, simply because we the subcontinent astride two important oceans—Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean—through which China does most of its trade—none more important than energy for its humongous population.
When push comes to shove, Washington would expect India to squeeze China on the sea lanes, and rely on Singapore, already beholden to it, for blockade in the Malacca Straits, the very lifeline of China if there is one.
Now what do you think India would do if West issues a directive on its waters against China?
If India goes with the United States, it would be dragged into a war with which it has nothing to do and everything to lose.
If India says no, and sticks to the emerging New World Order agenda, the West would play havoc through its “Deep State” within its contours.
Either way, India would have to make a choice—neutrality is not an option.
We know how India is inclined, given its ethical stand on Ukraine Crisis, not to say the trust over the decades and its military reliance on Moscow.
But standing up to the United States is no joke and if the aviation deal is intended to make the Hegemon go a little soft on New Delhi, it’s a temporary measure at best.
The world knows how the United States treats its non-Western allies and amongst countless such instances, New Delhi would do itself a world of good to remember the fate of Libya.
Just over a decade back, Libya was the best economy of Africa by a distance in 2011.
It was a kind of welfare state which even the Western people would be envious—free education, free healthcare, big subsidies on housing, food, gas etc. Its oil reserves were among the best 10 nations in the world.
Then its leader Muammar Gaddafi decided to take the fate of its oil in Libya’s own interest. He decreed that 70 per cent of Libya’s oil would be under state control.
However, knowing the fate of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 2003—who again was once US’ ally—Gaddafi cosied up to the West. He is alleged to have sponsored the 2007 election campaign of French president Nicolas Sarkozy. He also stood by Europe in helping the latter curb immigration from the Middle East and Africa.
Gaddafi also announced Libya won’t go for any “dirty bombs” and invited the West to come and dismantle any nuclear or chemical weapons plant which doesn’t meet their approval.
Yet, Gaddafi made the mistake of floating the idea of a “Gold Dinar”, a pan-African based currency backed by Gold and certainly meant to hurt the US dollar.
This is what sealed Gaddafi—and Libya’s—fate.
In February 2011, 200 protestors gathered outside the police headquarters in Benghazi city in support of an arrested activist. This standoff descended into a clash between the police and protestors. Soon the anarchy began spreading around the capital Tripoli.
It was only a matter of time before this turned into a national unrest with number of hashtags on social media—today termed as “toolkit”—imploring Libyans to hit the streets.
In a few months, the Libyan intelligence agency worked out that most viewed and promoted social media accounts were based in the US.
Predictably Human Rights groups began fishing in troubled waters.
Human Rights Watch demanded that Libyan authorities to free all writers, activists and protestors.
The news outlets—the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera of our world—began whipping up the sentiments against Gaddafi’s regime.
Alleged mercenaries, in the guise of protestors, began burning up police stations and storming army barracks.
Media, all this while, remained sympathetic to them.
Within two weeks, Libya was in the grip of civil war. The protestors announced a transitional government for Libya. A few weeks later, after the UN’s hands were forced to declare a no-fly zone over Libya, NATO began bombing Libya. It lasted for over 200 days—yes, OVER 200 DAYS!
At the end of it, Gadaffi was overthrown; subsequently captured, sodomized and murdered in plain public view, the video of which is widely available, not censored as if to serve a warning to others.
An Eerie Echo for Indians
From the above Libyan account, Indians would find a lot of things which have either happened or could happen to India if it continues an independent, nationalistic path.
Anarchy, hostile media, anti-India politicians, social-media toolkit, the so-called NGOs and Human Rights groups etc, we haven’t been unaware of all this in the last nine years of Modi’s government in the Centre.
Any decent geopolitical observer would tell you that if the US is looking the other way when India buys S-400 missiles from the Russia or negates its sanctions on Moscow, it’s because it needs New Delhi in encircling Beijing.
If India is not useful in this existential issue of the United States against China, the Hegemon would rain hell on India through its war-by-other-means.
If India tries to be useful to the United States, and does what New Delhi is expected to do in the QUAD, be sure that Washington would dump India as soon as its needs are over.
After all that’s what the US did to Beijing: First promoting it since 1971 as it fought the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Once the West won the Cold War, it has trained its sights on China lest it overtakes them on global affairs.
Same will happen to India: Once China is behind them, the United States would do its best to cull an emerging India–for it stands no independent non-Western nation.
If India develops cold feet, and overlooks what was done to friendly Libya, it should be ready for a similar fate.
If the fate of Libya is too distant a memory, at least Afghanistan is too recent for India to forget how its years of investment in Kabul—in the hope that the US would leave a stable country for India to fulfil its ambition of gaining land access to Central Asia-Middle East and thus also to Europe—came to a nought.
Not for nothing, and no less than Henry Kissinger himself once said: “To have the United States as enemy is dangerous; to have them as friend is absolutely fatal.”
In passing, do suggest if I forward this piece to my friend who is still jumping up and down with joy at the aviation deal.
For all we know, the West could have its cake and eat it too.