Hurdles and differences highlighted by ignoranti and speculative expectations dilute positive outcome need for patience and resolve to overcome hurdles and perceptions.
"When there is a general change of conditions, it is as if the entire creation had been changed and the whole world been altered." - Ibn Khaldun
During his recent visit to Japan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that 21st century is Asia's century and added that India and Japan ties were crucial for maintaining peace in Asia.
“ When India and China speak in one voice, the world will pay attention --The combination of the world’s factory and the world’s back office will produce the most competitive production base, “ Xi Jinping, President of China
"We are the two largest developing economies, and two biggest markets. In an increasingly multipolar world our strategic and economic ties are important. Together we can bring prosperity to 2.5 billion people of Asia and opportunities to rest of the world," Indian President Pranab Mukherjee
It was in 17th-century that the Ottoman troops knocked twice at the Gates of Vienna. Since then it has been downhill for Asian nations whether it is West or South West Asia, China, India or Japan. It were the West European adventurers/traders taking advantages of the backwardness (In Bharat, Brahmins forbade even travel by sea. Even in 20th century leaders like J Nehru and M.K. Gandhi on return from education in England had to be purified!),divisions in Asia and elsewhere took advantage to capture , colonies , brutalize, exploit and plunder .After WWII , US took over as the next bully in the world ,after Asians had been left in a state of misery , penury and deprivation. Look at the statistics below;
THE RISE AND FALL OF THE GREAT POWERS by Paul Kennedy
Relative Shares of World Manufacturing Output, 1750-1900
1750 1800 1830 1860 1880 1900
(Europe as a whole) 23.2 28.1 34.2 53.2 61.3 62.0
United Kingdom 1:9 4.3 9.5 19.9 22.9 18.5
Habsburg Empire 2.9 3.2 3.2 4.2 4.4 4.7
France 4.0 4.2 5.2 7,9 7.8 6.8
German States/Germany 2.9 3.5 3.5 4,9 8.5 13.2
Italian States /Italy 2.4 2.5 2.3 2.5 2.5 2.5
Russia 5.0 ~ 5.6 5.6 7.0 7.6 8.8
United States 0.1 0.8 2.4 7.2 14.7 23.6
Japan 3.8 3.5 2.8 2.6 2.4 2.4
Third World 73.0 67.7 60.5 36.6 20.9 11.0
China 32.8 33.3 29.8 19.7 12.5 6.2
India-Pakistan 24.5 19.? 17.6 8.6 2.8 1.7
Post-independence, the derisive Hindu rate of growth of 3.50 % was five times of previous decades. From 1914 to 1947, the figures of which are available, the rate of growth of the Indian economy was 0.72 per cent.
USA got out of its 1930s depression during WWII, when safe from enemy attacks on its territory, its military hardware and other factories produced full blast, with European powers like UK, France and others becoming debtors .So it was easy that while US GIs took over the English girls, the financial hub was officially shifted from the City, London to the Wall Street, USA .In 1945 US GDP was half of world GDP. USA and allies now spend more than the rest of the world on its defense i.e. hundreds of military bases and incessant wars.
Now USA, with 25% of world GDP of which 20% is financial i.e. derivatives etc., just jiggery-pokery, its debt is larger than its GDP and is increasing with annual trade deficit of about $ 500 billion. Washington is surviving only because the US dollar is still the reserve currency. Consequently most nations, led by China buy US securities at very low interest, Beijing leading with USD 1.3 trillion. It is unlikely that USA will honor these securities or even the gold which it has looted and plundered from around the world .It even refuses to account for Germany's gold kept for security. In 1973 Washington went back on its pledge to give an ounce of gold for USD 35. So do not expect America to honor its word which it has not in almost everything between nations i.e. economic, political or strategic. In fact, it has destroyed international law, especially since the fall of the Berlin Wall, which was earlier built up over centuries.
If USSR collapsed matching the US defense expenditure during the Cold War, Washington also is now bankrupt as were the Roman/Byzantine and Persian empires after centuries of warfare, allowing ragtag of Bedouins from the arid deserts of Arabia to fill the vacuum from Morocco to the Chinese border.
USA and its allies in Europe , except for Germany and perhaps France , are bankrupt .On German soil, US troops are still stationed, although World War II was over in 1945, so are GI’s on Japanese soil , victim of nuclear devastation of Hiroshima and Nagakashi , totally unnecessary when Japan was ready to capitulate.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the wake of the tabletop nuclear war preparations between U.S.-led West and USSR led socialist states, there were pathetic and pitiable instances of young women from states like Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia landing in brothels or as nightclub dancers, even belly dancers in Egypt .After the collapse of the casino style international economic order without the real chips, i.e. Gold or manufacture , with US leading the world towards economic denouement as in the Hollywood film ,’Runaway Train ‘ it is plausible that there might be English, American and other European teachers and nurses working in Asian countries.
After retirement from Turkey in 1996, with concurrent charge of Azerbaijan, a lecture tour at the cultural centers and universities of Bukhara Samarkand, Tashkent Andijan, birthplace of Mogul emperor Babar, thanks to Amb Bhadrakumar, I had delivered a number of lectures there as well as India International Centre, New Delhi, other cultural centers and many universities and defense institutes in India on the subject of a common market of countries speaking Turkic and Indo-Aryan languages. At that time it was difficult to envisage with the Imperial United States established as the great victorious power stalking world resources, that it would allow these nations to join with Russia and China to form a massive common market.
This is what I had written around 2000 AD.
If the Europeans could overcome their many differences, having constantly fought wars including two World Wars against each other and create a Common Market, why not the South and Central Asians? They appeared so unprepared for the new US globalized bazaar and faced with the economic challenges of 21st century.
Culturally, linguistically, ethnically and spiritually no other regions and people have so much in common. An area with continuous history and the cradle of most civilizations and the majority of the world's religions, where Indo-Iranian and Ural-Altaic languages have mingled with local languages to produce a rich mosaic of tongues and cultures.
The region has had a number of incipient and small economic communities in the past. The Persian Empire under the Achameneans ruled from Persepolis, stretching from Turkey to Uzbekistan and north India. In 517 BC, Persian emperor Darius ordered Scylax, his Greek subject from Caria (western Turkey) to survey the Indus River. Herodotus' chapters on India were based on records of that exploration. Under Devputra Kanishka's rule from Peshawar in nowadays Pakistan, traders and preachers moved freely and flourished in his empire, which covered most of Central Asia and Xinjiang down to central and east India. During the 16th century AD, traders moved freely in the empires of the Moghuls of Hindustan, the Uzbek Shaybani Khans of Khawarizm on the Aral Sea, the Shi'ite Safavids of Iran and the Ottomans of Turkey right into central Europe. A hundi (based on the hawala - trust - system still in existence today) issued in a Delhi bazaar was valid in Istanbul or Bukhara.
Although the British quit the sub-continent more than half a century ago, it was the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the independent Turkic speaking Central Asia Republics, such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan, that dramatically changed the political, economic and strategic situation in the region.
Tashkent, Dushanbe and Bishkek, the capitals of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, are as close to Delhi by air as Chennai. Now independent and sovereign, they looked elsewhere, despite their almost umbilical past connections with Russia. The population of the CARs is only about 65 million, but the republic of Kazakhstan is as large as India, and the CARs are extremely rich in energy resources and other raw materials, such as gold, uranium, iron and non-ferrous metals.
Apart from restricted contacts since 1947 between India and the CARs, then part of the USSR, and except for a century and a half when the Indian sub-continent was ruled by the British and Central Asia by the Russians, there was always natural interaction through travel, trade, migration and conquest between the sub-continent and Central Asia, Iran and Turkey.
Aryan tribes and culture migrated from north of the Black Sea and the Caspian and Kazakh steppes during the second and first millennium BC. Later, Turkish tribes marched from the eastern Asian steppes to the Indian sub-continent, Iran and Turkey, then known as Asia Minor, where earlier Greek, Roman and Hellenic thought, culture and polity, which forms the basis of Western civilization, had already evolved. This was the result of the interaction of incoming Greeks with the existing higher Asian civilizations of Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt and India. Home to over 40 civilizations, Turkey has more Greek sites than Greece and more Roman monuments than Italy.
Although the idea of an economic community will take time to be accepted, it must be studied and promoted for the well-being of the nearly 2 billion people of the region. With so many members, there will be less fear of Indian domination, a Pakistani obsession.
At the hub of exchanges, Pakistan and Afghanistan would gain the most; even more than they currently earn from heroin exports and smuggling. India could be a massive market for manufactured and raw materials from Kazakhstan to the Maldives and from Iran, if not Turkey, to Bangladesh.
The new community would be overtly and covertly opposed by many. How would China, the US and Russia react? China would certainly oppose it covertly, and could use Pakistan as a Trojan horse. After the unraveling of the USSR, US foreign policy has been erratic in Central Asia. First it tried to use ethnically closer and secular Turkey against Islamic fundamentalism from Iran and Afghanistan. But Saudi Arabia provided the bulk of the funds for mosques and literature. Jihadis in the CARs are Wahhabis, the austere and no-frills Islamic form enforced in Saudi Arabia.
Many leaders of the CARs and the Caucasus region have in the past leaned towards Russia, and they have earned criticism from the US for their lack of democracy. But after September 11, the erstwhile pariahs became partners against terrorism. They were invited to Washington and wined and dined. Military agreements have been signed with almost all the states and aid worth billions of dollars has poured in, mostly in the defense sector. But US policy on Iran, which now forms a part of the so-called axis of evil, is counterproductive, and India and Russia are working towards a north-south corridor through Iran for trade, which could also link India with Central Asia.
Times have since then changed
Now the people and leaders in China, India, Russia and Japan and other adjoining big and small nations with their unity can put a stop to murder, looting and criminal activities of U.S.-led West .The only solution is with Russia and to some extent, China, providing military muscle against the grasping and brutal North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which now considers the whole world as part of North Atlantic with its troops still in Afghanistan since decades and have now reached Ukraine .Criminal Western leaders had tried to bomb out Syria last year, a Russian ally of Bashar Assad and his father since the peak of the Cold War. US were made to blink when its lies were exposed and Putin stood fast along with its ally .
Apart from various bilateral arrangements in local currencies for payment of trade between some countries especially in Asia and Russia, the Brics bank would be a big nail in the coffin of US created self-serving organizations like International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. These and other institutions and their pensioners have served the US cause led by the likes of Manmohan Singh and many other Indian civil servants, especially Indian diplomats who were given sinecures , their children were educated and are employed. They support the policies promoting continued overall exploitation of India by USA and Britain .But times have changed. And let us hope, after the visit of the Chinese president to India and of Russian Pres. at the end of the year, Asian nations can get together, also through Brics, which can be expanded and Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which can be strengthened and militarized to counter the reckless and criminal expansionist and plundering activities of NATO.
Yes, there are and will be many problems, say between China and Japan. There are between China and India. But I am quite sure that Japan would like to get rid of the American GIs still occupying Japanese territory after having nuked and pulverized two Japanese cities. It was just the Yankee way of teaching a lesson as they did while establishing their Uncivilized State by the genocide of original inhabitants of the American continent and barbaric treatment which still continues of descendants of African slaves imported to work on plantations and as domestics. Riots in Ferguson are the latest example.
NATO can look after North Atlantic, but the security of the Pacific is best left to the states of Asians on one side and USA and Latin America from the other.
As Indian Prime Minister Modi has stressed many times while he was in Japan or now with the Chinese Pres. visiting India, we should work towards an Asian century. Russia can play an important role because of its military prowess and energy and other resources, which West tried to take over after 1991 and in the process transferred Russian wealth between US$ half trillion to USD 1 trillion during Yeltsin era under the garb of capitalism and globalization . Moscow has been always invaded from the West by Napoleon, Hitler and now the US ,presently headed by Obama, elected as have been the practice in USA by corporate interests, for whom Clintons ,Bushes , Blair’s and Camerons are but paid servants, highly paid servants. Look how well off they are after retirement, rolling in millions.
Trust but Verify
Apart from other differences, a major problem between India and China is the dispute along the borders. This problem emerged after the conflict of 1962, because of somewhat ill-advised policy by India from which New Delhi has still not recovered and to be able to put it aside. Modi has no such baggage and India at an appropriate time can come to an agreement with China, for the time being setting it aside and going full steam ahead in promoting bilateral economic, industrial, cultural and other relations.
There are many examples in Europe and even Asia, where emotionally charged nationalistic disputes have been set aside to which solutions were found much more easily later on. One of them is the Alsace Lorraine problem between France and Germany after World War II, Trieste problem between Italy and Yugoslavia and nearer home, the border problem of 1950s between Russia and China and between Indonesia and Malaysia before creation of Asean.
The germs of Europe Union were based on distrust between France and Germany by the creating a Coal and Steel Authority to keep a check on manufacture of armaments .It is now a flourishing Union, not warring over battlefields.
The differences which have been highlighted by the media, here and elsewhere like the demarcation of the long border and tensions, differences on Tibet, J and K, India’s relations with Japan, Vietnam illustrate the long path to be covered for mutual respect and beneficial economic relationship leading to strategic understanding and partnership between India and China and then with other Asian nations and Russia and possibly even Germany.
In 1990 when Saddam Hussain had sent his tanks into Kuwait , after altering aerial photographs to show that Iraqi forces were poised to invade Saudi Arabia ,when George Bush Sir requested the US Congress for half a million troops to protect its ally in Riyadh , a grizzled Senator asked what will stop him from invading Iraq with these forces.
This is what real strategic matrix is all about .Since then US and its allies have run amok .It is therefore necessary that India should build roads and other necessary defense infrastructure in North East and Ladakh .Delhi has put in charge a brave, efficient and totally incorruptible minister in Gen VK Singh, former Army Chief to oversee this aspect in bordering regions with China. India should never be caught unprepared as it was prior to 1962 debacle.
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|Liaquat Ali Khan|