Korybko To M. K. Bhadrakumar: PM Modi’s Remark To Putin Wasn’t A Gaffe

Korybko To M. K. Bhadrakumar: PM Modi’s Remark To Putin Wasn’t A Gaffe

My intention in responding to his article is to generate a wider debate among everyone about India’s growing role in International Relations. Hopefully folks will be inspired by my latest piece to share their own thoughts about this.

Former Indian Ambassador and popular pundit M. K. Bhadrakumar published an op-ed on his website earlier this week about “India’s gaffe in Samarkand”, arguing that Prime Minister Modi erred in telling President Putin that “I know that now is not an age of wars.” Former Indian Foreign Secretary and Ambassador to Russia Kanwal Sibal already clarified that it’s inaccurate to interpret his leader’s comment as any sort of veiled criticism against Moscow, yet Bhadrakumar still shared several harsh criticisms and rhetorical questions afterwards that deserve to be answered, ergo the purpose of this piece. What follows are targeted responses to each of his primary points:


Bhadrakumar: “India should know that in a situation where Russia faces an existential threat to its security, it will not be deterred while firmly, decisively responding, no matter what anybody says.”

Korybko: No Indian official has implied anything of the sort, hence why their civilization-state has proudly practiced a policy of principled neutrality wherein it neither condemns nor condones anyone.


Bhadrakumar: “There was simply no need to have characterised, at PM’s level, the Ukraine conflict as a ‘war’. It betrayed ignorance, since the whole world knows that what is going on is a proxy war between the US and Russia in the Ukrainian arena that had been incubating through the past quarter century ever since NATO began its eastward enlargement with an agenda to encircle Russia.”

Korybko: Prime Minister Modi’s implied characterization of Russia’s special operation in Ukraine as a “war” was vindicated by President Putin himself when he said on Wednesday that “Today our armed forces, as I have mentioned, are fighting on the line of contact that is over 1,000 kilometres long, fighting not only against neo-Nazi units but actually the entire military machine of the collective West.”


Bhadrakumar: “If Turkey’s Recep Erdogan and Hungary’s Viktor Orban can speak up (ed: about US complicity in provoking the latest phase of the Ukrainian Conflict), although NATO leaders, why can’t India’s EAM? But, never mind, there is no question of Jaishankar even remotely embarrassing Biden.”

Korybko: EAM Jaishankar has already “embarrassed” Biden by defending India’s purchase of discounted Russian oil in defiance of the US’ unilateral sanctions on at least two occasions in June and August, not to mention being responsible for redoubling the Russian dimension of Delhi’s dual-tripolarity strategy.


Bhadrakumar: “The big question, nonetheless, remains: Why is it that a country like India has lost its voice?”

Korybko: India hasn’t “lost its voice” since it’s actively positioning itself, especially through Prime Minister Modi’s latest remark, as the leader of a new Non-Aligned Movement (“Neo-NAM”).


Bhadrakumar: “Does [India] prefer the unipolar world order that the West tries to foist on the world community? Has it forgotten the colonial past?”

Korybko: Absolutely not: India works hand-in-hand with its fellow BRICS partners to accelerate the global systemic transition to multipolarity and even recently replaced its colonial-era naval ensign.


Bhadrakumar: “Does [India] accept that the ‘rules-based order’ means acting the John Wayne way — appropriating other countries’ financial assets entrusted with the Western banks in trust? Does it condone, for whatever reasons, the US’ stated intention to destroy Russia’s economy?”

Korybko: India most definitely doesn’t accept that manipulative concept for unilaterally advancing US interests at others’ expense as proven by EAM Jaishankar redoubling the Russian dimension of his country’s dual-tripolarity strategy, which naturally includes comprehensively expanding trade ties.  


Bhadrakumar: “If Modi Govt has thought through these issues by now, six months after the sanctions from hell against Russia, does it have any views at all? When India was much weaker, it still had a mind of its own? What happened to India?”

Korybko: The Modi Government has clearly thought everything through and that’s why it practices a policy of principled neutrality in order to carefully balance between the US-led Golden Billion and the BRICS-led Global South, unlike when it was much weaker and thus felt pressured to play bloc politics.


Bhadrakumar: “From the Kremlin readout, Putin actually acknowledged right at the outset of the conversation with Modi that Russia and India are not on the same page on Ukraine.”

Korybko: The above is Bhadrakumar’s personal interpretation of President Putin acknowledging Prime Minister Modi’s “concerns”, which I argued here are reasonable and mirror President Xi’s.


Bhadrakumar: “Despite its own reservations over what India was attempting to do by splitting Pakistan into two halves, an unprecedented act by international law, when the crunch time came in 1971, Moscow not only stood by India but even despatched its warships and submarines to guard Indian waters from a potential US military attack against India — and this, while on the diplomatic front, Moscow bought time for India to conclude its military operations to cut Pakistan down to size.”

Korybko: The conventional interpretation of that complex conflict from 1971 is that the USSR had absolutely zero reservations about its Indian strategic partner’s calculations in what was then East Pakistan, with this viewpoint being supported by their Treaty of Peace, Friendship, and Cooperation from August of that year that’s widely considered to have encouraged Delhi by signaling Moscow’s de facto mutual defense intentions to balance out Washington’s de facto such commitment to Islamabad.


Bhadrakumar: “Modi could easily have played a meaningful role at the summit instead of meandering his way aimlessly through the pandemic, supply chains, et al, at a juncture when such profound issues (ed: related to forging the new world order) were being discussed by his peer group in Samarkand.”

Korybko: Prime Minister Modi’s vision of strengthening regional supply chains wasn’t “aimless meandering” like Bhadrakumar dismissed it as, but fully aligns with President Putin’s geo-economically driven Asia-Pacific strategy that he touched upon ahead of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.


Bhadrakumar: “The word ‘multipolarity,’ which was on everyone’s mind in Samarkand, did not even figure in Modi’s speech at Samarkand. Whoever drafted that speech must have done it with an eye on Washington.”

Korybko: The geo-economic focus of Prime Minister Modi’s speech ipso facto concerns multipolarity since the more democratic, equal, and just world order that’s emerging isn’t sustainable without such a basis, thus proving that whoever drafted his speech did it in spite of Washington, not in deference to it.


Bhadrakumar: “All that hand-wringing subsequently by the apologists of our government cannot wash away the stain.”

Korybko: There’s no “stain” for anyone to wash away from Prime Minister Modi’s participation in the SCO Summit, and clarifying his intentions is a service to all observers, not apologia for any government.


The Alt-Media Community (AMC) within which Bhadrakumar and I share our analyses should always encourage respectful debate between representatives of contrarian schools of thought in order to help everyone more confidently arrive at their own conclusions about sensitive issues. My intention in responding to his article is to generate a wider debate among everyone about India’s growing role in International Relations, which I argued at length in early June in this analysis for a leading Russian think tank has made it the irreplaceable balancing force in the global systemic transition to multipolarity. Hopefully folks will be inspired by my latest piece to share their own thoughts about this.

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