India has only fallen further behind China during the first 5 years of Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a rare national address on live television last month to boast that India had destroyed a satellite in low orbit, establishing itself as a “space power” alongside the U.S., Russia and China.

For a leader who lambasted his predecessor for failing to counter long-term geopolitical foe China, the missile test was a moment of “utmost pride.” 

Yet China conducted a similar test more than a decade ago in 2007, prompting critics to note that India’s show of strength was merely highlighting the wide strategic gap between the world’s two most populous countries.

Whether Modi returns to power or not, India’s next government will still be saddled with aging equipment like Soviet-era MiG warplanes, a bureaucracy that hinders military upgrades and an undersized diplomatic corps. 

To fend off China, it’s likely to continue shifting toward the U.S. and other like-minded countries in Asia while seeking to protect its periphery.

“A major long-run test for India is to ensure that China does not turn India’s own geography against it by encircling it with a string of military bases in the Indian Ocean,” said Rory Medcalf, who heads the National Security College at the Australian National University.

“Delhi will play a long game. As India’s economy grows, this will still eventually translate into the world’s third-largest defense budget.”

AN apparently insignificant announcement concerning Indo-Tibetan relations was made to the press on September 16, 1952, by the Indian Ministry of External Relations. 

It stated that the 16-year-old Indian Mission in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, would be wound up and replaced by a Consulate-General; but that whereas the Mission maintained direct relations between India and Tibet, the new Consulate-General would be accredited to China. 

In other words, Indian recognition seemed to be entirely withdrawn from Tibet and thus the period of coöperation between the two countries on a basis of equality came to an end. 

As the initiation of this cooperation was one of the cornerstones of Indian foreign policy under British rule its termination must be the expression of some basic change in policy; and there is no better way of understanding this change than by recalling briefly the history of Indo-Tibetan relations.

The divergent fortunes of the American and Chinese rare earth industries over the past 40 years is a reflection of the two contrasting political economic systems. 

It has been a text book example of the power of China’s statist approach to industrial policy to engineer a competitive advantage and capture advantageous industries in the supply chain by exploiting the weaknesses in the market system. 

It also exposes flaws in the US’ approach to managing its own national interests.

Tibet is bordered by Chinese Turkestan and Mongolia in the north; by China in the east; by Burma, India, Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal in the South; and by India (Punjab and Kashmir) in the west. Bhutan and Sikkim were formerly part of Tibet but are now separate states under Indian suzerainty. 

Both Tibet and Nepal were under Chinese suzerainty, but whereas the Nepalese threw off Chinese domination, Tibetan efforts to terminate dependence were never completely successful. 

However, the term Chinese domination calls for explanation. Chinese suzerainty meant at first the overlord-ship of the Manchu Emperors. 

With their downfall, Chinese Republican influence in Tibet decreased rapidly and Chinese Communist influence was considered a menace in Lhasa long before the defeat of Chiang Kai-shek.

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