Saturday, 28 May 2016

Why India can never be friends with Pakistan, China, USA

One of the first things I learnt when I started my career in consulting was something called issue based problem solving – a method of finding answers to certain key business questions. It has two variants – a data driven approach and a hypothesis driven approach. The first consists of collecting all kinds of data and then trying to see some pattern from it. The second consists of arriving at a solution from first principles conceptually and then trying to see if one can find data to support the hypothesis. A classic example of hypothesis driven approach is Sherlock Holmes uncovering a cigarette stub from a specific spot on the ground and telling the surprised Watson that he found it because he was looking for it. The data driven approach would have been to pick up all kinds of items on the crime scene that are potential clues without any bias and trying to fit most of them into a pattern. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. While the data driven approach can be highly tedious, the hypothesis driven approach can be biased and can lead to some key data that contradict the hypothesis being ignored. Lazy dreamer that I am, I have always preferred the hypothesis driven approach. Here I attempt to formulate a hypothesis on an important issue of international politics – India’s relations with US, Pakistan and China.

I confine myself to coming up with the hypothesis. I have not attempted to collect data to prove the same as I am not an academic in this field. Anyways even if I were to do that, it would be an academic paper and not a blog post. So here I try to prove using pure logical reasoning based on simple information in public domain why none of Pakistan, China or US can ever be a true friend of India. My whole argument is going to revolve around a single line from the preamble to India’s constitution that defines India as a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic. It is my submission that each of these words is a reason why at a conceptual level India can never be truly aligned with one of the three above mentioned nations.

Let us start with ‘secular’. This explains why I believe Pakistan can never be our friend - as it was founded on the premise that life of Indian Muslims would be better under an Islamic Republic than in a Hindu majority secular nation. While the words secular and Islamic were not formally there at the time of founding of both the nations, I believe it was always there in the spirit of the two nations. So for Pakistan to accept and acknowledge that Indian Muslims can have a better life in a secular nation where Muslims are a minority would be an existential crisis of sorts. In fact I believe it would be easier for Pakistan to deal with a Hindu Rashtra as that would vindicate its founding belief that Indian Muslims and Indian Hindus are two different nations.

Let us move on to ‘democratic’. China obviously does not believe in democracy. So success of democracy in its neighborhood would undermine the ideal of single party system being the best for peace and prosperity of a nation. If Chinese people feel Indians enjoy as much or greater prosperity with added freedom, then there might be clamoring for switching over to democracy in China as well. Therefore I feel it is not in the interest of the Chinese establishment to have a prosperous India in its neighborhood. Of course in short term, India might serve its purpose in terms of trade and China might not overtly go to war with India. But China, in my opinion, will never truly want India to ever be a peaceful, prosperous, stable nation.

Lastly we come to ‘socialist’. America, as we know is the flag bearer of  capitalism. So they would not be too excited about success of socialism anywhere in the world, especially after the collapse of the USSR. We can clearly see, as we have started moving away from socialism and towards capitalism post liberalization, our relations with USA have improved drastically. As long as we move towards capitalism we would have the backing of Wall Street that is running US from behind the scenes. But if we were to find ourselves moving back towards socialistic ideals, we would find capitalistic forces line up against us.

Therefore it is my belief that China and Pakistan will always be India’s enemies while US will never become a true friend unless there is a major change in the nature of government in any of the four nations.

To some my conclusion would seem all too obvious while others may debate based on specific details of how one or the other nations has made friendly overtures to India or point out cases where nations with opposing philosophies have co-existed peacefully. To the first, I would say, it probably is but I was more fascinated by the whole logical thinking process of arriving at this conclusion starting with a simple statement and constructing a chain of logical arguments thereon. The second kind I would not be able to counter unless I take the comprehensive exercise of collecting data and running rigorous analysis to test my hypothesis.

16 comments:

  1. To my untrained mind, it appears you have chosen the data based method rather than hypothetical --I am tempted to look at the grandiose labelling, secular, democratic, socialist as bits of data. But that you are a dreamer is as true as the earth, sun, moon and the galaxy, so the presence of a subtle hypothesis can't be denied. And yet, all thise countries you have mentioned seem to be gravitating towards what is supposedly their respective anathema. And although out of context, our dear country seems to be headed for a chaos. Indeed, that line from the constitution is typically representative of our turncoat ethos. We keep trying to be too many things at the same time and are good at being none. At best, we are citizens of an assortment of bigoted oligarchies, Amma and Mamma and Maya and Mulla et al. In time not too distant in future we may turn into an islamic nation; Naxals may sweep polls in a vacuum; the elite and nouveau rich might try and retain the spirit of capitalism. In short, it is too chaotic to spin any theory using either data or hypothetical approach.

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    1. I agree, Umashankar. I just tried to reason out based on the line from preamble as an axiom the way all logical arguments are built on top of some assumptions. If the base assumption is questioned the whole logic falls flat. That is why it is always my submission that the so called scientific theories are not God given truth - they are also built on top of axioms like this - is the axiom is disproved, the whole thing will fall flat.

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  2. Truth of India. Well explained

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    1. Guess that is the problem Suresh. The government doesn't want the opposites to attract the people I guess for obvious reasons. So they would do utmost to vilify the opposite.

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  4. Simple Point is ...if they resolve issues , who would need Politicians anyway ?? So to survive and remain relevant , they will keep playing around this issue forever ..

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    1. Absolutely true. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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  5. I think nations never become friends. They are just strategic partners and when strategies change, partners also change :) Interesting hypothesis though.

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    1. I agree, Asha. The point is the ideologies and forms of government drive the strategy of governments to retain power over their own people as well as deal with other nations. That makes some nations natural allies and others natural enemies. I was arguing from the point of view.

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  6. I tend to agree with your reasoning. Those factors and given our tensions with China and Pakistan are major factors in finding true friends among the neighbors.

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    1. Thanks Rachna. Glad you agree with my analysis. And glad to see you back on my blog.

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  7. There are two type of friendships one at citizen level, as you rightly said your thinking is true about political level,it will continue at individual level to get good out of all type .

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    1. True - citizen level friendships are all together a different issue.I actually plan to write about in another post - about our individual identities and group identities. As individual even national identity might not be our highest priority.

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  8. An interesting thought process mate, the cultural differences and priorities sure play a huge role and they form a very starking difference in this case.

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