Modi-led India vital to protect Indians/humanity

If there was ever a time for a sane large global actor to be in charge of the Indian government and its military, it is now. That is the steady hand of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ongoing wisdom to prevent the country from descending into a deep dark pit that the North and […]

If there was ever a time for a sane large global actor to be in charge of the Indian government and its military, it is now. That is the steady hand of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ongoing wisdom to prevent the country from descending into a deep dark pit that the North and the Middle East may be headed to. That is after the escalation to major conflicts due to the horrendous terrorism launched on Israel, followed by the mass and disproportionate retaliatory destruction on Gaza and now, followed by the also unnecessary bombardment of  Israel by massive number of drones from Iran. This combines with the activities by the Houthis in the Red Sea, blocking up critical shipping there, and missile launches by Hezbollah onto northern Israel which are bad enough to cause a huge regional conflagration. But add Russia’s presence in Ukraine and certain NATO countries practically adding conditions leading  to direct war with Russia’s massive military, what do we all make of this? Not to forget, nuclear weapon equipped Russia, the US and Israel, this is altogether a dangerous cocktail of potential for global  breakdown, if not wide-scale planetary destruction.

Therefore, there  is clear need for India to continue, if not accelerate its peace-making efforts which is getting more obvious almost by the hour. One, as possibly the only lead agent with both the credibility almost universally and  enough diplomatic heft to facilitate peace with its continued leadership of the Prime Minister, along with his highly astute and world respected, External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar.

Though, above trying to bring about global peace, what can and should India do first at a practical level? It is clear it needs to protect its citizens as best as it can without question.

It should ensure that China or Pakistan, do not take advantage of the US-led West being preoccupied and so committed to West Asia and Europe in major war, that China takes advantage of such possible distractions to further spread its wings strategically and territorially at India’s and others in the Indo-Pacific region’s expense. That means more focused intelligence on what China and Pakistan may be up to as they may more mobilize their militaries within the wider region with the world at war – or even with the region aflame initially as a preclude to such.

If, indeed, the situation in the Middle East (and Europe) goes mad, military reserves should be called up and further trained to better protect India’s borders and overall security. It is also a worry that internal dangerous elements of splitists, Islamists and the extreme ideological left may get more activated if India through weakness  (by a change in government) gets embroiled and bogged down in war overflowing its borders, even in skirmishes or having to defend against major terrorism attacks from Pakistan, for example.

The door to letting in spreading chaos due to accelerated global instability should be shut tight, making India a subcontinent sea of relative tranquility to the outside, especially to Europe and the Middle East problems (being imported).

Clearly, the Prime Minister with his able team on strengthening of the Indian military significantly over many years is the kind of continued leadership India needs. The Opposition is just too fuzzy on the issue of war and peace. Thus, India will need the reliable and proven Modi government voted in by a strong majority. One with a good majority of Indians behind him further underscoring, especially to China and Pakistan that it would be foolish not to listen to Delhi on serious matters of security and stability as/or if much of the world goes to pieces.

On those points, India should be not only appreciated for its leadership by example. For, it has rarely gone to war with its neighbors in many decades but has retaliated  when terrorism was launched by a country against it – that being Pakistan. Rather, India has largely a deeply held culture to non-violence. By its spirituality and dedication to the principles strongly embodied and promoted by its major founder of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi non-violence is central not only to the collective national spirit but with its relationship to other nations. That also includes that Gandhi’s view of not standing down and showing cowardice to those seeking to seriously hurt the nation. In this sense by following and reinforcing this Mahatma Gandhi legacy, the Modi government has already seriously inoculated the country against  global tensions getting much more serious. And even on that it could take additional  action to signal to those with nukes, that if their actions were to seriously contaminate it by exported radiation by cross border fallout, it might take decisive, even proactive action with its full arsenals on the table. But exercise strategic ambiguity.

On international peace, what can India more do? It can rally the Global South as well as BRICS to make them much less  dependent on a western-based financial order already overbearing. One that may really go up in “smoke” inevitably with global war, including massive more sanctions against Iran and its possible allies which might include Russia, if not China. It can strengthen what I call South to South resuscitation with Africa, Southeast Asia and beyond. And work with countries like Singapore (to Australia) to keep the Malacca straight free for navigation, or at least for critical imports for the country (and exports). By keeping trade flowing as much as possible, this will be good for the whole world in mitigating the chances for an economic depression, or much more worsening economies that could lead to further international tensions.

Such mass wars may shave off or more India’s prosperity. But by the current skillful, and no doubt further well-positioning of India geopolitically, India under the current administration may still go economically forward even with global spreading war. And the country  may even play a major appreciated role in helping the belligerents come to their senses before they go trigger happy ugly with weapons of mass destruction. This could even be India’s moment to rising to the top while others seek to put themselves at risk of being placed in the rubble of history while India pushes peace globally and maintains it internally  That is of course if the Narendra Modi government is very likely not replaced with the befuddled and weak.

Peter Dash lives in the Global South and was an Associate at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs where he studied and researched world order. He writes extensively on geopolitics.