ulhasj at SPAMbom4.vsnl.net.in
Thu Oct 14 20:36:50 MDT 1999
----- Original Message -----
From: <alert at stratfor.com>
To: <redalert at stratfor.com>
Sent: Thursday, October 14, 1999 6:55 AM
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> October 14, 1999
> Asian Alliance on the Horizon
> Rumors of a proposed alliance among Indonesia, India, and China are
> not farfetched. Although separated by history, culture and
> ideology, all share mutual apprehension over U.S. hegemony and have
> made diplomatic movements toward each other. At the same time,
> Russia has improved relations with India and China. This prompts
> questions about the possibility of a new, bipolar world.
> After a recent meeting with representatives from the Central
> Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, Indonesian presidential
> candidate Abdurrahman Wahid said he looked forward to a possible
> new alliance among India, China and Indonesia. Wahid reportedly
> said such an alliance would help rectify the "lopsided" power of
> the West. He also indicated plans to visit the People's Republic of
> After the initial shock of such a statement, Western Asia-watchers
> dismissed Wahid's comments as pre-election posturing. But a quick
> dismissal of this idea is unwise. While many obstacles stand in the
> way of an India-China-Indonesia bloc, there are indications of a
> trend in this direction. Such an alignment would necessitate a
> major adjustment of U.S. policy.
> For an alliance to form among India, China and Indonesia, the
> countries would need to overcome some significant historic
> differences. Relations between China and India have been stormy, as
> China has traditionally backed neighboring Pakistan. Chinese-Indian
> tensions erupted into a brief war in 1962, resulting in the current
> Chinese occupation of Indian territory.
> Indonesian-Chinese relations are apparently improving, but it was
> only 40 years ago that the threat of a Chinese Communist insurgence
> in the archipelago triggered a government purge that left thousands
> dead. Ethnic Chinese are still targeted during periods of unrest in
> Indonesia. Indonesia is also an historical ally of the United
> States, while Chinese and Indian relations with the United States
> have been cooler. On a more ideological and cultural level, Chinese
> communism, Indian Hinduism, and Indonesian Islamicism do not appear
> to be easily compatible world-views.
> Yet several recent events portend a possible warming of relations.
> The Far Eastern Economic Review reported that the cancellation of
> the Australia-Indonesia military cooperation treaty led Jakarta to
> consider Beijing as a source for weapons and spare parts. An aide
> to Indonesian President B.J. Habibie also indicated these moves
> stem from a desire to counter Indonesia's reliance on the West.
> Although the Indonesian military still maintains links with the
> United States, it may be tempted to ally with a nation, like China,
> that doesn't interfere in internal affairs.
> Sino-Indian relations began to show signs of improvement during the
> recent conflict in Kashmir. Instead of supporting its ally
> Pakistan, China was noticeably neutral during the fighting. In
> fact, Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh commented June 18 on
> China's "serious approach" to resolving the conflict, and said that
> the two would extend bilateral cooperation and hold a security
> dialogue. A month later, Singh said "some of the past
> misunderstandings with China are now behind us." He added, "India
> does not see China as a threat and China does not see India as a
> The most obvious point of agreement among India, China and
> Indonesia is apprehension over U.S. power. All three have expressed
> concern about U.S. hegemony in the wake of NATO's intervention in
> Kosovo. China went so far as to call for the establishment of a
> "just" new international order.
> Interestingly, at the same time that China has been moving toward
> Indonesia and India, Russia has moved toward China and India. All
> three nations have already agreed to combat cross-border terrorism
> in Central Asia. This is not strategically significant in itself,
> but it paves the way for increased cooperation on other matters.
> Russia agreed Oct. 13 to upgrade India's air force with enhanced
> MiG-21 and SU-30 fighter planes. Russian President Boris Yeltsin
> and his Chinese counterpart, Jiang Zemin, met in August and agreed
> on the necessity of a multi-polar world. The two are scheduled to
> meet again before the new year.
> Increased diplomatic and military cooperation is a far cry from a
> formal multinational alliance. Nor is there any indication of
> contact between Indonesia and Russia. However, even an increase in
> foreign policy coordination is a major concern for the United
> States. Russia, China, India and Indonesia cover a majority of the
> Eurasian landmass, and contain almost half of the world's
> population, as well as a tremendous amount of resources. By the
> mere fact of geographic proximity these nations already exert a
> tremendous influence on the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the Middle
> East, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. Coordinated
> geopolitical strategies would increase that influence dramatically.
> If confronted by a newly bipolar world, the United States would
> need to increase and solidify its alliances, especially in Asia.
> NATO still covers Europe, but military relations with "border"
> nations such as Australia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Pakistan
> would dramatically increase. Concerned by overarching geo-strategy,
> the United States would overlook relative trivialities like
> currency controls, human rights and coup attempts.
> Alliances are difficult to form and even tougher to maintain, but
> we are seeing the first steps by Russia-China-India and China-
> India-Indonesia. These nations are separated by ideology, culture,
> history and geography, but linked by a general strategic interest -
> concern over the United States. The question is whether this shared
> concern is enough to overcome obvious differences. The answer
> depends largely on whether the direction of future U.S. policy will
> provide sufficient motivation for these countries to align.
> (c) 1999, Stratfor, Inc.
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