The US recently announced a so-called “special coordinator for Tibet” in a move that was immediately condemned by China as interference in its domestic affairs. Around the same time, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat called on the Dalai Lama. It’s unlikely that these two moves were coordinated since the former obviously preplanned its political provocation while the latter retains regular contact with that spiritual leader in accordance with his country’s decades-long ties with him. Nevertheless, India mustn’t fall for the US’ latest Tibetan trap lest it reverses the recent progress that seems to have been made in improving ties with China.
Tibet is an emotive issue for many Indians who feel a spiritual kinship with its indigenous Buddhist community with whom they’ve interacted for millennia. Even though New Delhi recognizes the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) as an integral part of the People’s Republic of China under the authority of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) in Beijing, it used to support separatism there back during the early days of the Old Cold War in coordination with the CIA. The geopolitical situation has drastically changed since then, but suspicions over this prior issue occasionally pop up due to the enduring strategic interest that the US has in exploiting it to divide and rule China and India.
India’s recent recalibration of its multi-alignment policy back towards its historical Russian special and privileged strategic partner after tilting a lot closer towards the US over the past half-decade due to their shared concerns about China surprised those in Washington who’d arrogantly taken their military-strategic partnership with New Delhi for granted over the past 18 months. Whether it was threatening CAATSA sanctions for India’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense systems, violating its exclusive economic zone, or keeping that country out of the loop when it came to America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and its secret assembling of AUKUS, the US unilaterally worsened its ties with India.
This directly contributed to its leadership wisely realigning towards its much more reliable Russian partner in order to restore balance to its grand strategy, which in turn facilitated President Putin’s visit to the South Asian state earlier this month, during which time the two sides agreed to a 99-paragraph strategic partnership pact. This amounted to a de facto hemispheric-wide balancing alliance, which sets the stage for these two Great Powers to further align their grand strategies with a view towards jointly assembling and subsequently leading a new Non-Aligned Movement (“Neo-NAM”). That outcome would be a global geostrategic game-changer in the New Cold War between the US and Chinese superpowers.
Furthermore, India’s significant Russian-oriented shift (which was brought about by it being abused as a vassal state by the US over the past 18 months) could improve its relations with China seeing as how Moscow is an equally strategic partner of both Asian Great Powers. There’s cautious optimism of such an outcome after Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov recently revealed that the Russian and Chinese leaders discussed at heads of state summit sometime next year between themselves and their Indian counterpart through the Russia-India-China (RIC) format. This very strongly suggests that India’s recalibrated multi-alignment policy is stabilizing Eurasian affairs, particularly the Indo-Sino rivalry.
It’s precisely for that reason, though, that the US might once again try to catch India in its Tibetan trap. Seeing as how emotive of an issue this is for the majority of the Indian public and especially for the ruling Hindu nationalist BJP, it’s imperative that they’re not enticed into tacitly supporting the US’ latest political provocation against the People’s Republic through its newly announced so-called “special coordinator for Tibet”. India-Chinese relations are extremely sensitive at the moment, not only due to their unresolved security disputes but also because of the potential for pragmatically improving their relations through Russian mediation after India’s recently recalibrated multi-alignment policy.
This makes the present moment a pivotal one for Eurasia since one wrong move by either of those two Asian Great Powers could instantly revive their comparatively controlled “security dilemma” and thus create an opportunity for the US to return to actively dividing and ruling them. It’s one thing for the RSS chief to call on the Dalai Lama like his party has done many times before, and another for the ruling party that’s under the same ideological umbrella to tacitly back the US’ new policy towards Tibet. Hopefully, the BJP realizes the Tibetan trap that the US is trying to set for it and will wisely keep its distance from this emotive issue in order to avoid ruining the chance for improving ties with China.