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EXCLUSIVE: Geopolitical Expert Jitendra Kr Ojha On China Turning Into Global Threat

New Delhi: MI5 (Military Intelligence, Section 5) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently addressed a joint statement in which they called out China as a global threat. To understand the detailed stance of both these global anti-terrorist agencies and what are they trying to infer from this, News 24’s Mayank Kasyap contacted Jitendra Kumar […]

Edited By : Mayank Kasyap | Updated: Jul 24, 2022 14:32 IST
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New Delhi: MI5 (Military Intelligence, Section 5) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently addressed a joint statement in which they called out China as a global threat. To understand the detailed stance of both these global anti-terrorist agencies and what are they trying to infer from this, News 24’s Mayank Kasyap contacted Jitendra Kumar Ojha who is a Geopolitical Expert. He has also served the Indian Government for a long time at the post of (Former) Head of Intelligence Training Academy.

Here is what he has to say regarding China evolving as a global threat. Why are London and Washington going offensive on Beijing? And most importantly what is India’s role in this entire geopolitical fiasco?

Mayank: For the first time in 100 years, MI5 and FBI have addressed a joint Press Conference. They have cited China as a global threat of grave concern. How do you look at this?

Jitendra: China has worked out an exceptional model. At one level, they are not Democratic; they are not transparent, and a very small caucus in that country enjoys unfettered powers. At another level, they have achieved remarkable prosperity and technological transformation. This is unique and somewhat contradictory. Large sections of masses in Chinese society are just productive machines. The entire phenomenon, of economic prosperity and technological innovation at one level and concentration of power in few hands in another, gives enormous power to a very small number of people. With this kind of prowess, they can virtually harm anyone everywhere in the world.

Second, larger trend of democratisation, especially after passage of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is being increasingly reversed for all practical purposes. Success of Chinese model and simultaneously, I would say, a relatively lackadaisical performance of democratic India, is eroding credibility and desirability of democracy. This is going to give a very strong setback to the idea of universal access to security, dignity, and opportunity, notwithstanding whatever we may be talking about on paper.

Another trend that we are ignoring, especially when we point fingers at China, is one of far too many contradictions in western model of democracy. Leaders and stakeholders, especially rich sections of people in those democracies, are not willing to address internal contradictions in their own society. So, I think, they are highlighting only half the problem or at best two thirds of the problem. They also need to look within their own societies and democracies in general. I would say, democracies need to rediscover and reinvent themselves and evolve to a higher stage to fend off challenges and threats posed by the Chinese model.

Mayank: So, on the point of society, they have specifically said that they are targeting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and not actually targeting the common Chinese as CCP has been involved in covert operation throughout Europe.

Jitendra: This is what I’m trying to say. We should not have any issue with Chinese people. The Chinese model is that 70, 80, 90 per cent of the people are just productive machines. They get food to eat, they get good health and reasonable medical care, some education and of course jobs. Most of the population is only good productive machine. Power is controlled by a very small caucus. And even within that caucus, it’s only a smaller number who really matter.

And as I said, they have access to enormous resources, highly sophisticated technology. With this kind of tech-prowess, which is there at their disposal, they can harm everyone else. For all practical purposes, the overwhelming majority of Chinese people are just bonded laborers of a certain kind. They are permitted to do certain things but they cannot go beyond a point. Even if there is gross violation of human rights in that country or threat to security of people, masses can do very little or almost nothing.

I don’t think Chinese people are in a position to protest, both because of Confucian influence and its idea of so-called harmony, where, masters have to be obeyed and people have to subservient. So psychologically they have been conditioned to be subservient. Otherwise also surveillance technology and absence of rule allows Chinese Govt to oppress its people. Chinese have been able to build highly sophisticated surveillance technology, precision strike capacity for both domestic and international use. And this power has gone into head of their leaders who can inflict huge damages on people everywhere. And that’s a threat to entire mankind, Mayank this is what I feel.

I have been talking about it for quite some time. They have perfected a newer model of neo imperialism where they have converted most post-colonial societies as objects of disguised plunder. They have captured their resources and made them into captive markets as well by subverting their political elite. This is driving the prosperity of China and their capacity to invest in certain types of technology. The phenomenon threatens the entire world. We need to worry far more. If you see my first lecture on this subject after I came out of government. This was in 2020. And I have very specifically mentioned about these threats. In January 2020, this lecture is about why and how India should be worried and how should we go about countering the Chinese threat.

Mayank: They have also cited that the business, research, and future is in danger globally because of China. Why do you think that London and Washington are having this perspective towards Beijing? Why are they not limited to the West?

Jitendra: Well, I have said that we don’t know the extent to which it threatens world or Europe etc. But it seriously threatens India. There’s a disguised kind of plunder of India and other developing nations by China. But a larger threat to mankind arises from the fact that Chinese have demonstrated their global ambitions. They have mocked the West, they have mocked America, they have mocked Europe. And with their financial and technological muscle they can intimidate and coerce the entire world. Earlier, we were talking about, for example, hypersonic DF-17 missile of a China that could strike any target in Far East and Asia, with the speed of Mach 5 to Mach 25. They can dazzle and blind all Americans satellites, or European satellites over their own territory.

Their underwater surveillance, reconnaissance and strike capacity or ability to extract marine resources, and strike anyone, is worrying given their intent and capacity. And now they have launched another version of ICBM, which people say has a speed of approximately Mach 25, and it can strike any target anywhere in the world. So, these are only glimpses of what China is planning to do and the kind of capacity it has acquired. It is very well-known Mayank ji that any human being who has this kind of absolute power with no restraint, can go wrong and even insane. With entire system of global checks and balances being dismantled, we need to worry.

And this is what MI5 and FBI are trying to highlight. The threat, metaphorically, targets the entire mankind. And earlier also I said that whatever progress we have attained towards democratization, following UDHR, is under threat. Of course, it is not under threat from China alone. It is as much under threat due to internal contradictions of some of the most established democracies like United States of America itself as well as others. Being in India, we can take a very high moral position. We are also doing very bad on many parameters of governance and liberty. On equality or Health parameters, we are not doing very well. So, there are contradictions which need to be addressed.

Mayank: In this global framework that they’re trying to
create, will India have an individual stance regarding this whole situation? Or will it act as a pawn for the West?

Jitendra: Well, we are a large democracy. But as I said, there are problems in the very idea of democracy itself. My biggest worry is that, that if there is extreme inequality, and some people plunder and loot resources of India and they run away to Western countries after such loot, the way our judiciary is becoming increasingly, I would say, irrelevant for all practical purposes, due to its sluggish pace and overall weak rule of law, we are under serious threat.

So, we should not think that we will be pawn. But our stakeholders need to take the mantle of leadership and instead of aping old Mamluke and Mughlai system of plunder or worshipping individuals. Sadly, we have built a long tradition of subservience to power, not only after independence, but for over a millennium. It has got into the psyche of Indians. We need to eradicate such psyche.

We do have simultaneous traditions of protest to this psyche as well. I feel we have to think for ourselves as a society. But as far as government policy is concerned, as I see, especially Prime Minister Modi’s policy, he may not have much options in terms of wise ideas. But whatever options he has, he is very clear that India will not be a pawn in hands of anyone. India has its own independent outlook. But you know, it shall only remain an aspiration in absence of brilliant ideas, initiatives, strategies, capacities emanating from institutions. In this direction, progress is not commensurate with the vision and aspiration of India that our prime minister has spelled out, Mayank.

Mayank: What according to you are Chinese actually trying to do that has rattled the west so much that, for the first time in over 100 years of being established, MI5 and FBI have come together for a joint press conference, giving warnings to the world regarding Beijing?

Jitendra: The fact is that the world has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Until recently, we had almost near complete domination of the West over the rest, even if there were fratricidal wars and conflicts within the West like the one coming from Germany during second world war or even during first world war or so. Or US- Soviet Russia rivalry that followed. But Russia was economically no match to US and Europe combined.

But after 1945 after the end of second world war, we for the first time have an oriental power like China that threatens domination of US and West both economically and militarily as well as technologically. This feels brilliant for us as Asians. But the kind of political system that the Chinese are having or the kind of psyche they’ve had for millennia, where, rulers have always been worshipped, and this has continued even after communist party came to power, we need to worry. Mao was the second commoner at the helm in history of entire so-called Chinese civilization after Liu Bang, who was founder of Han Dynasty. But Mao was also worshipped for all practical purposes.

It is the most elitist and unequal kind of political system that the Chinese have created. Rulers, for all practical purposes, are worshipped. Some small number of people, a small caucus, I would say, has become all too powerful. It can do anything as there are no internal checks and balances. Chinese system doesn’t care and bother beyond the point about the wellbeing of its own people. Will it worry for the world?

Of course, Chinese system has empowered its citizens to a certain extent. Empowered citizens by contributing to economic and technological power of China and bolster strengths of their rulers. This kind of political system has never existed earlier, where a small number of people threaten to control their own people and the way they are rising, entire mankind is under threat.

But as an Indian, I would say two things. There are contradictions in the western democracies also. They need to review their so-called capitalist model, because that model has retarded pace of technological innovation in the West. They must go towards larger democratization. They should not pressurize the world to ensure their own dominance. They must push autocratic systems towards accountability and democracy. We need to carry out innovation in this direction.

Mayank: Is the West afraid that there will be a major shift of power from Europe to Asia? Are they afraid of the fact that, not actually allies but India and China could come together as adversaries? Is it a possibility?

Jitendra: Different people may have different ideas. West also has to ensure that they can no longer patronize the world. Sections in the West have been acknowledging that they have to be respectful to India. I must say that threat from China is genuine. And this is too superficial an approach to say that the West is afraid.

Yes, there are sections in the West who continue to think that the West is supreme. I think that they have to come down to the ground. They must realize that for the sake of their own security, they need to partner democracies like India, Japan, South Africa etc. A very different kind of multipolar world must come up. There are many stakeholders, and we need sanity on their part. Chinese are subverting Western democracies as well and threatening security of their people. All open societies are vulnerable to subversion by China Mayank. We need a new domestic and geopolitical strategy both.

(You can listen to the entire conversation on the link given below.)

First published on: Jul 24, 2022 04:53 AM IST

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