Rising China has been the number one challenge to US hegemony on the global scene for over a decade. To take care of that emerging strategic threat, successive American governments have been putting in place a number of economic and military safeguards in place. Declaring India a US strategic ally in the Asia-Pacific region and renaming the American Pacific Command as the Indo-Pacific Command was one such major step that alarmed China as well as Russia due to its multiple political, economic and military implications. The thinning out of US forces from mainland Europe/ NATO to substantially reinforce Indo-Pacific Command, which covers more than 36 countries, 14 time zones and over 50 percent of global population; made responsible for keeping the strategic Sea Lines of Communication(SLoC) secure, besides radiating great military strike potential cannot be ignored by US strategic rivals.

The geo-economic and geo-strategic importance of the region compelled the US to come out with the execution of the Asia-Pacific Rebalancing policy to challenge the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) worth US $ 1.3 trillion, involving 60 plus countries and touching almost 130 countries providing global economic connectivity. In 2007, the Quad Group was formed in the Asia Pacific region involving the US, Japan, Australia and India and held its second foreign minister level meeting at Tokyo on October 6 2020, with potential to become Quad plus involving South Korea, Vietnam and New Zealand and Britain and France prone to hop in. The Quad Group’s recent meeting and US Secretary of State Pompeo’s statement was indicative of American haste and anxiety to form a potent military alliance to contest and contain China, which had been termed mini NATO in the region and was resented by both Russia and China. Nevertheless, despite US’ over assertive statements, other member countries still prefer to keep it camouflaged under the blanket of addressing global issues like collective response to Tsunami, COVID, humanitarian crises, counter terrorism, cyber and maritime security etc. Russia and China both see this formation as a threat to the greater Eurasian Economic Union and SCO/ ASEAN respectively and view India’s duplicitous ride in two boats moving in different directions.

Despite that, India like the US, was hopeful of extracting military leverage from the Quad Group especially in the backdrop of China, giving her a tactical bloody nose in Galwan Valley Ladakh during June 2020. Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir had been declared unilaterally as an integral part of India in August 2019, by revoking article 35 A and 370 of the Indian constitution. Further alarmed by provocative statements by Indian politicians and generals, China obviously saw it as a threat to the CPEC route passing through the northern part of Pakistan and quickly occupied strategic heights in the disputed Ladakh region along the Line of Actual Control.

Beijing has good reasons to be more assertive now, having grown economically and militarily and emerged as an undisputed global power. In a very well deliberated and cautious manner, China has now displayed that potency. China has been able to effectively checkmate India merely by a small tactical move and showed the real difference between the two Asian neighbours.

According to an Indian analyst, India’s economic growth rate, which had already started to slow under Modi’s government, has posted the worst performance among big economies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment is at an all-time high, industrial production has declined, and investment has dried up. Once touted as possibly the fastest-growing economy in the world, India under Modi is staring at its worst economic crisis in many decades. New Delhi is in no position to build the military strength it desperately needs not only to fend off China but to handle a potential war on two fronts against both China and longtime rival Pakistan.

To add insult to India’s badly bruised ego, America’s most credible Foreign Policy magazine has laid bare Indian role in the spread of global terrorism. As per the magazine, “As white nationalists across the world have gained prominence through racist, Islamophobia and anti-Semitic acts, the world’s focus on terrorism seems to have shifted. Many experts on extremism now focus heavily on the far-right in its many incarnations as an important driver of terrorist threat. But this myopic approach ignores the dynamism that the Islamic State injected into the international jihadist movement, and the long-term repercussions of the networks it built. In particular, the Indian and Central Asian linkages that the group fostered are already having repercussions beyond the region. Indians and Central Asians are the new face of the Islamic State. Terrorists from India, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan were never at the ... that the Islamic State injected into the international jihadist movement, and the ... Modi has advanced a series of policies promoting a Hindu nationalist narrative”.

Pakistan has been highlighting the Indian policy of state terrorism in the region for a long time. As a matter of fact, it commenced with training of Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman’s Mukti Bahni by Indian RAW at Agartala in India, which resulted in East Pakistan’s emergence as Bangladesh. As the role of Indian citizens in regional and extra regional terrorism activities (obviously with support from RAW) now stands exposed by even an American magazine, therefore Indian atrocities in IIOJK, its subversive role in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other SAARC countries needs to be consistently highlighted with full vigour at the UNO and all other international forums by all the affected countries, who suffer from unabated Indian state terrorism. Besides, China and Russia must take the lead role in consolidating existing regional economic and military alliances to effectively thwart the intimidating threats.