US senator Marco Rubio (Republican, Florida) is the Acting Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Co-Chair of the Congressional Executive Commission on China and a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He wrote an article in Nikkei Asian Review titled India should ignore Putin's offer to broker accord with China. He is trying to convince India that Putin is incapable of helping India, and he cannot be a mediator because he will not be neutral and will be tilted toward China. What Rubio is trying to tell India is that Russia can no longer be a capable and a reliable friend of India and India should ally with America to confront and fight China. Basically, he wants India to give up its most time tested and trust worthy friend for a country that has always treated India as a potential adversary.
Rubio reminds of the story about King Solomon when he was able to find out who was the real mother of a child whom two women claimed to be theirs. King Solomon ordered that the baby should be cut in two pieces and divided between the two women. While the fake mother said that this was a good idea, the real mother said that the baby should not be cut into pieces and the other woman can have it. Russia is trying to save India from fighting a war with China that can prove disastrous for both countries. America wants India to fight China so that America can kill two birds with one stone; weaken its biggest adversary as well as its potential adversary. Russia sincerely wants to help India, a long time friend. We can look at the history of India-Russia and India-America relations since India's independence and this will become clear that who is India's true friend.
We can look at the voting pattern in the UN and this will become clear who stood up for India and who introduced resolutions against India. India and Russia have voted on the same side about 90% of the time, whereas India and America have voted on opposite sides most of the time. Russia had to veto anti India resolutions supported by America. Even today, about 60% of the heavy weaponry of the Indian army is of the Russian origin. Russia has always provided India with its latest and most advanced military technology. Whereas America has been very stringent as far as transfer of such technology is concerned.
America sent its seventh fleet against India during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. It was the Soviet Union that came in to help India. We should not forget the lessons of history, otherwise we will not be able to decide who are our time tested and trust worthy friends.
Some may argue that past history has become irrelevant and now there is a convergence of American and Indian interests. However, even today, there is a fundamental difference in the American and the Indian interests. America wants to preserve the unipolar world order that is dominated by the only superpower in the world, America. Whereas both India and Russia want to change the present world order to a multipolar world, where no one country dominates the whole world.
True friendship can only exist among equals. America considers itself superior to others. This superiority is practiced under different names such as American exceptionalism and America first. I have no qualms about accepting that America is a great country. However, I feel uncomfortable when some Americans insist that America is the greatest. When you subscribe to the philosophy that America is superior to the others, then you cannot qualify to be a true friend because you are promoting inequality. Russia has never considered itself superior to the countries that it considers its friends. Russia has always considered India its friend.
India should listen to a true friend. India should recognize the gravity of the situation. The stakes are much higher than the 1962 war. India's survival as a country is at stake. We need all the sincere advice we can get. Instead of ignoring Putin, we should listen carefully to him and see what he has to offer. President Putin wants a trilateral meeting of the Indian Prime Minister Modi, the Russian President Putin and the Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the upcoming G-20 meeting in October. We should never shut our doors to a diplomatic solution.
Whereas President Putin, as a sincere friend of India, wants India to have a realistic understanding of its conflict with China; America and the western countries, with ulterior motives, want India to overestimate its strength and underestimate China's strength. This approach can prove very dangerous for India because it increases the likelihood of a war between the two countries that the western countries will like to see. With this purpose in mind, America and the western countries have been engaged in the propaganda that India's economy is growing at much faster rate than China and is soon going to overtake China. This may happen, but it is going to take a long time.
At present, China's economy is about five times bigger than India's. According to some military experts, the difference in the military budget is even bigger. They feel that China spends much more in real terms than the available figures. Therefore, at present, the two countries are not exactly equal in their strength. However, in terms of importance they are equal. China understands that America is its main adversary and a conflict with India will only strengthen its main opponent. Therefore, China wants an amicable settlement with India. President Putin is in a position to help both India and China. Russia, India and China share a common interest: to transform the present unipolar world into a multipolar world.