By – Franscois Gautier
Paris, France…The leaves of the marronniers (chestnut trees) are turning yellow and falling to the ground, the sky is often gray and the weather getting cold. Frenchmen and French women are steeling themselves for a long winter, with the recession, elections looming ahead and President Francois Hollande at his lowest popularity level.
One rarely hears about India in the French media, whether newspapers or TV channels, except when there are catastrophes, big elections, or some side stories that often show India in a poor light. Forget about Hindus – most French people, although they have sympathy for India, often mistake the word ‘Indians’ with the name ‘Hindus’ and sometimes, the old confrontation between Christian monotheism and so-called Hindu polytheism crops up in conversations, when it comes to gurus, for instance, whom the French often accused of creating ‘sects’.
Yet, as we saw in the four previous articles, a true Hindu power, holding a series of successive governments in India, would be secular in nature, as Hinduism has a universal outlook and recognizes the diversity of One Divine Being who incarnates Himself or Herself at different times, using different names and different Scriptures. Hinduism is also the only religion that never sought to impose its creed by force, as Islam did with its armies, or even by conversions, as Christianity and Buddhism attempted. Hindu kings and queens, such as Shivaji Maharaj, Maharana Pratap, Ahiliabai Holkar, or Krishna Deva Raya of Vijayanagar, were equally secular, never imposing Hinduism as the state religion and respecting the wives and daughters of their enemies. Finally, Hindus have given refuge to all the persecuted minorities in the world, whereas Hindus have been, without a doubt, the most persecuted creed in the world.
Soon, the west is going to begin to recognize India’s growing economic clout. It’s already happening a bit, as the Indian GDP has overtaken that of the Chinese, though much remains to be done and the Chinese are still doing far better than Indian in most aspects, including infrastructures, electronic hardware, scientific research and manufacturing. Indeed, the French are growing wary of the buying spree of Chinese firms and its government, of French companies, hotels, and castles. There is an increasing number of Chinese tourists in Paris and they can be seen nowadays in luxury shops, such as Hermes or Dior, where formerly only the Japanese and the Americans bought.
Yet, there is one aspect that western diplomats and governments never think off, it is that an India with a Hindu power would be of immense geostrategic interest to the west. Why? Firstly because a Hindu India would be an island of democracy, religious freedom, and strength, in an Asia which is racked by Muslim fundamentalism. It is not only Pakistan that exports Islamic terrorism, towards Indian Kashmir and for that matter all over the world, but Afghanistan too, which, as soon as the Americans fully leave, will go back to is old Taliban way and become again a danger to India, Russia, and even China. To the East, Indonesia, with the largest Muslim population in the world, can always fall prey to a radical Islamic government, the way Turkey has. A strong Hindu government in Delhi would act as a deterrent to these nations, in Bali for instance, where Hindus are slowly being squeezed out by Muslim colons from Java or mainland Indonesia.
Asia is also the prey of an immense Chinese thirst for military hegemony and gluttony for more territories. China took Tibet, then Honk-Kong, today wants Taiwan, claims that Arunachal Pradesh is its own, is digging deep sea ports in Gadar, Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, and India finds itself surrounded, from Nepal, where there is a strong Chinese influence, to Pakistan, which Beijing has propped up financially, militarily and even nuclear-wise. This is worrying western powers, who are falling prey to the nuclear blackmail that Pakistan and China are doing unto them (“if you do not put pressure on India to negotiate Kashmir, the Pakistanis regularly tell the Americans and Europeans, there will be a nuclear war between us and India, with grave environmental consequences for this Planet”). The Chinese have also brought a railroad near the Indian border and built the highest landing strip in the world in Tibet so that their planes can swoop down on India.
Thus, America has indirectly started using India to counter China’s aggressive hold in the Chinese sea and the Indian Ocean, particularly regarding the Spratly islands, which China has colonized and where it has built a port and an airstrip where its warplanes can land, though, it is also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. The West is concerned that the Spratly islands will be used by the Chinese to control the sea-lanes, whereas there should be a free flow of goods and oil for all. India, which has a more powerful navy than Vietnam, Malaysia, or even Japan, is, therefore, the natural counterweight to China’s greediness.
We saw how the Indian Congress never could deal in a forceful manner with Chinese duplicity and greed. A strong Hindu Government would, therefore, be the perfect buffer for the West to counter Chinese 21st-century colonialism. In fact, Mr. Modi has already shown this, by recently allowing the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh, a state, as we saw, that the Chinese claim as its own. And Mr. Modi’s visit to Chamoli in Uttarakhand to celebrate Diwali with the troops of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police is also sending the right tough signals to Beijing, something that Washington is bound to appreciate. A bolder move would be for India to support a free Tibet movement, which would hurt the Chinese badly, while the Dalai Lama is alive – but Mr @narendramodi may not be ready to do that yet.
In conclusion, the sooner the West will realize that a Hindu India is not only the natural economic alternative to an undemocratic China but also its natural geostrategically in Asia, the better for a stable Asia and the future of the world (to be continued).