Well, as Narendra Modi didn’t delve into foreign affairs, as expected on his yearend speech, let me do it for him.
Of course, he needed to have an image of an international statesman immediately after became Prime Minister. So, he had to tour a lot cultivating an international image. Now, he has to look inwards. With the demonetisation, he created ample scope to work till the next general elections.
However, in the somewhat changed international scenario, he may need to empower the now recovered from ill-health Sushma Swaraj changing gears and to come to the fore playing the role that she was supposed to play in the first place. Perhaps, it is time Subramanian Swamy is given an assignment, may be permanent or temporary to help Mrs. Swaraj.
With the election of Donald Trump, the former opposite poles of the world have started coming closer. Though it is only in the interest of these two nations explicitly, this alliance may well form a synergy between both military powers.
As of today, United States of America is expected to look inwards for economic growth. How far Trump can reduce the effect of Chinese invasion into the American markets is not clear. However, given his unorthodox ways of handling affairs, be it domestic or foreign, he already caused a concern to the Chinese. With already increasing inventory of finished goods, if the entry into American markets is restricted, the already unstable Chinese economy would experience a great disturbance.
The other factor affected by Trump is Europe. Already reeling under the effect of Brexit, European nations would be under stress to contribute more to the NATO funding. There are more chances that they fall in line and increase their share to at least close to their genuine share of costs of maintaining forces. Unlike America, European nations are weaker when compared to the Russian military in terms of conventional armament. And they are closer too. Leaders of these nations, had to deal simultaneously three aspects, namely the effect of Brexit, the effect of middle-east migrants and the Russians; but not necessarily in the same order.
Had it been few decades ago, Europeans would have used the migrants simply as labour or ‘slaves’. However, in the changed scenario, the disturbance caused to Europe by the migrants is not less than what either of the world wars caused.
If Trump prefers to limit American military expeditions and concentrates in domestic economic functions, Putin would be filling the vacuum. Russian influence would increase in the middle-east and in some North African nations too. Despite increasing Russian influence in the Asia-Africa, European countries cannot try to oppose Putin, as they themselves are busy dealing with their own economic situation and migrant crisis. As long as Putin has not declared a war, Europe would be turning a blind eye on all activities of Putin, elsewhere.
Only place where Putin would hesitate to go was Afghanistan, for known historical reasons. This is where, both America and Russia expect India to fill in for them. As Pakistan is now unofficially a vassal state of China, once the CPEC is ready for use, China would like to share the Afghan pie. Perhaps, to counter such future move, the talk of a loan by India to Mongolia.
Thus, India is expected to be a new point of focus in a limited geographic area. But, given the mineral deposits in Afghanistan, this limited geographic area is a crucial one for the Chinese that expect their labour would be without jobs, unless there are opportunities elsewhere.
The economic situation in the west in general, be it in Europe or in America would be having a negative effect on both China and India, which are the leaders of outsourcing. Though it may take time for any of the policies of the West to cause major dent in the outsourcing business of China or India, both Asian nations would be competing each other in the manufacturing sector.
The advantage China has over India is it has many technologies of its own. But, having own technologies would turn China a loser when western companies supply technology to Indian firms to do business in all parts of the world including Afghanistan and Mongolia. This is the primary reason why the dragon is making noises on even something like the testing of a missile by India. Of course, they know the Achilles heel of India is Pakistani sponsored terrorism and so would like to keep India busy on related matters. Hence, the blockage of designating Masood Azhar a terrorist.
Considering their problems elsewhere, China would not want to engage militarily with India. As already Trump got China engaged at Taiwan in the eastern shore, China would not want anything to do on the western front. Given the new heights in the relations between Japan and America, China has their hands tied in the eastern seas. In fact, the relations between China and India would be turning for good in coming years. Here is exactly where the services of Subramanian Swamy, who was a friend of China administration could be useful.
The job for Sushma Swaraj is too straight. She need to try to compensate the job loss that may result from the inward policies of the west, by engaging western firms to tie up with Indian firms so that this combination would try to industrialise the rest of world that has not been industrialised so far. She may need support of Nirmala Sitharaman in engaging the west as well as WTO, for the effect of “American Economic Implosion” would be too hard to handle, for both China and India.