Right after speculating about a worldwide Russian-Pakistani Hybrid War plot, the Indian establishment is now talking about a supposed Chinese-Pakistani one in Kashmir, but while the intended effect of these American-influenced infowar operations is to boost the BJP’s prospects for re-election and supercharge the US-Indian Strategic Partnership after the vote, it might also inadvertently drive Russia, Pakistan, and China closer together in forming a new Multipolar Trilateral for stabilizing Eurasia.
The Hybrid War hysteria continues in India after the country’s establishment just claimed to have seized Chinese-produced grenades and other weapons from Kashmiri militants that New Delhi says were supplied by Pakistan. This disclosure, which reports say was already two years in the making, conveniently came during the beginning of India’s month-long electoral process and immediately after the country’s Defense Minister herself publicly contradicted previous officials who spread the false news that the latest “surgical strike” supposedly “eliminated” “100s” of “terrorists” by revealing that not a single Pakistani was actually hurt during that stunt.
It’s therefore self-evident that the timing of this latest Hybrid War “revelation” is intended to achieve political ends most directly related to helping the incumbent BJP win re-election by fearmongering about the Chinese-Pakistani Strategic Partnership and distracting voters from the begrudgingly admitted truth that the latest “surgical strike” was nothing more than a Bollywood ruse for whipping up nationalist fervor ahead of the polls. Interestingly, this latest twist in the story comes after the Indian establishment hyped up an imaginary Russian-Pakistani Hybrid War plot that one of the country’s leading academic figures claimed has become worldwide in its scope and was recently directed against their country.
The inclusion of China and Kashmir into this larger Hybrid War narrative is also designed to achieve other strategic goals as well that go far beyond the immediate one of boosting the BJP’s re-election prospects. Once the vote is over and regardless of whether the incumbents win or are beaten by the opposition, India now has the “publicly plausible” pretext to accelerate its newfound military-strategic alliance with the US that was consecrated with the 2016 LEMOA pact that allows America to use certain Indian military facilities on a case-by-case “logistical basis”.
The US Congress’ revived proposal to upgrade India from the Pentagon’s first-ever and only “Major Defense Partner” to a “Major Non-NATO Ally” on par with Japan and South Korea would take on a life of its own in this manufactured strategic context and complete India’s transformation into the US’ premier “Lead From Behind” Great Power proxy for “containing” China in the New Cold War. In parallel with that, the infowar provocation about Pakistan reportedly giving Chinese-made grenades and other weapons to Kashmiri militants is intended to drive a wedge between the two Great Power partners by publicly pressuring Beijing to scold Islamabad and impose conditions on what it’s allowed to do with the wares that it receives from the People’s Republic just like the US does, an unlikely scenario to be sure but one that’s nevertheless the political fantasy that India desperately wants to actualize.
Furthermore, attempting to implicate China in a Kashmiri Hybrid War plot could also serve as the basis for building the narrative that the People’s Republic and its Pakistani partner are both “state sponsors of terrorism”, a politicized designation that could then be used by the US to threaten sanctions against one or both of them (which could in effect intensify the “trade war” talks and result in de-facto sanctioning CPEC) and to provide America and its new Indian ally with an additional excuse for boycotting the upcoming Belt & Road Initiative Forum next week and this global series of connectivity projects more broadly. It could also manipulatively be included in the infowar against Huawei as supposed “proof” that China “dangerously interferes in the internal affairs of its partners” and therefore “shouldn’t be trusted” to build their 5G networks.
The New Multipolar Trilateral
Try as they may, however, India and its American patron will probably end up inadvertently provoking counterproductive geopolitical consequences to their interests by actually making it more likely that their joint infowar attacks against Pakistan and the global pivot state’s Russian and Chinese Great Power partners will lead to all three of them coming closer together in forming a new Multipolar Trilateral for stabilizing Eurasia out of the shared sense of victimhood that they now have in being targeted by the Indo-American alliance. Should this come to pass, and impressive progress is already being made on this front, then it could revolutionize the geostrategic situation in the Eastern Hemisphere for years to come.
That said, it can actually be interpreted as a “blessing” of sorts that India has succumbed to American pressure and attempted to implicate China in a Kashmiri Hybrid War plot with Pakistan just like it recently did with Russia regarding a supposedly global one. In blind pursuit of its short- and medium-term goals vis-a-vis the ongoing elections and its developing alliance with the US respectively, India might actually end up unwittingly harming its long-term grand strategic interests if its latest infowar provocations lead to Russia, Pakistan, and China accelerating their convergence into Eurasia’s new Multipolar Trilateral and irreversibly revolutionizing hemispheric affairs in the process.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.