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Trilateral Axis Versus Quadrilateral Alliance – Which Way India Should Go?    

By Dr. Sawraj Singh

Should India join a Trilateral Axis of Russia, China and India; or a Quadrilateral Alliance of America, Japan, Australia and India; is the major question before us today. We have to identify and define fundamental interests of India and the Indian people. Trilateral axis means going for a change to a new world order, whereas Quadrilateral alliance means going for the status quo. India is a developing country belonging to the third world. India is also located in the east. The present world order is dominated by the developed countries of the west.

It is obvious that India’s and the Indian people’s fundamental interests cannot be served in the present world order. Therefore, joining an alliance whose main purpose is to maintain and perpetuate the status quo is not in our interest. India needs a change from the present western-dominated unipolar world to a multipolar world. Only a multipolar world order can insure that India and the Indian people get their fair share and a proper status in the world. Otherwise, India will continue to get the short end of the deal.

There is still another consideration: usually people like to join the winning side rather than the losing side and are attracted to the rising side rather than the declining side. There is very little doubt that Russia and China represent the rising side and the west is showing signs of decline. India deserves to be on the winning side. After independence, even though India claimed to be a non-aligned and neutral country, yet it left very little doubt that India was leaning toward the Soviet camp rather than to the western side.

India made a mistake by abandoning the Soviet Union and quickly jumping to the American camp when the Soviet Union collapsed. One should take one’s time to choose and make friends. Same should be true of abandoning old and trusted friends; one should take one’s time. India proved wrong on both counts. India felt that Russia had no chance of regaining its status as a superpower. At the same time, it felt that American domination is going to last for a long time if not indefinitely. Both these formulations proved wrong.

Russia has bounced back and has already become a major player in the world. Russia has scored victory after victory. Russia won in Georgia, Crimea and Ukraine. The victory in Syria is the most important victory. It has really changed the balance of power in the world. When we take a look at the regional equations as far as the balance of power in the world is concerned, then it becomes obvious that Europe and the Middle East still play the most important role. Russia is gaining influence in both these regions while America is losing its influence.

Countries which used to be under American influence are now leaning toward Russia. Turkey is one good example. It was an important member of the NATO and was even called the Eastern Flank of NATO. Now, Turkey is leaning toward Russia. Egypt was solidly in American camp, it also seems to be starting to lean toward Russia. Similarly, Iraq had completely become a client state of America after the fall of Saddam. It looks like it has aligned itself with Iran, which has very close relations with Russia.

Similarly, American efforts to contain China do not seem to be working. Trump took America out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which was started primarily to counter Chinese influence. Philippines, which was another client state of America, has developed very close relations with China. America was unable to make the ASEAN take a stand against China over the South China Sea islands. The biggest recognition America is giving to China is by including it in the countries which Trump is visiting now in his Asia trip while omitting India. India should understand how much importance America gives to India and China.

Let us look at the countries which are included in the quadrilateral alliance besides America and India. Japan is the major American ally in Asia. There is every indication that Japan has already reached its peak and now it is on the decline. Japan’s population is aging and is declining. When we compare Japan with China, then it becomes obvious that comparatively, China is gaining influence while Japan is losing influence in Asia and the world. It is very unlikely that this trend will reverse.

Australia was never among the major powers of the world. Historically, it started as a very marginal power in the world. Actually, it was a penal colony of the British, and was used by them for dumping their criminals and undesirable elements. Australia now has a good economy. However, its economy is heavily dependent on China. China can pull the carpet from under its feet anytime it wants. It is very unlikely that Australia can withstand full-blown Chinese economic pressure. When push comes to shove, Australia is very likely to cave in and abandon the anti-China quadrilateral alliance.

India should clearly understand that in the case of escalation of India-China conflict to a full-blown war, most likely it has to face China alone. None of the quadrilateral allies is likely to get physically involved. Basically, it will be an India versus China match. On the other hand, if India joins the quadrilateral alliance, then Russia will throw its full support to China.

India should also keep in mind that the trilateral axis of Russia, China and India is a natural alliance, whereas the quadrilateral alliance is unnatural. Generally, nature prevails over unnatural things. India should listen to its time-tested friend Russia and resolve its differences with China peacefully. A trilateral axis of Russia, China and India will help to maintain peace and harmony in the world.

Dr. Sawraj Singh, MD F.I.C.S. is the Chairman of the Washington State Network for Human Rights and Chairman of the Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice. He can be reached at sawrajsingh@hotmail.com.

 

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