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 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, a very small caucus in China enjoys unfettered powers. And they have worked out a remarkable, I would say, technological transformation. Large section in Chinese polity and Chinese society, they are just productive machines. And on that basis China has driven it’s exceptional and phenomenal economic prosperity and technological innovation.
The net outcome of this system is that a very small number of people enjoy enormous power. And with this kind of technological prowess, they can virtually harm anyone everywhere in the world. Second, larger trend is that, you know, after Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we have been progressing towards, some kind of democratization of world, that trend is now being reversed for all practical purposes, because of success of Chinese model. And simultaneously, I would say, a democratic India, despite having done good, our performance has not been anywhere comparable. And this is going to give a very strong setback to I would say, the idea of universal access to security, dignity, and opportunity, notwithstanding whatever we may be talking about on paper.
And another trend, we say that when they point out fingers at China, there are far too many contradictions in western democracies as well. And those people, especially stakeholders, leaders, rich sections of that democracy, they are not willing to address the problem. So, I think, you know, they are highlighting half the problem or two thirds of the problem, they also need to look within their own societies and democracies also need to, I would say, rediscover reinvent themselves and evolve to a higher state of security.
Mayank: So, on the point of society, they have specifically said that they are targeting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and they are 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 population. The Chinese model is that 70, 80, 90 per cent of the people are productive machines. They get food to eat, they get good health to you know, to be a good productive machine, and they are being given job. Power is controlled by a very small caucus. And even within that caucus, it’s only a small number of people who have power.
And as I said, they have access to enormous resources, enormous technology, this kind of innovation, which is there at their fingertips. And using that technology. And using that prosperity, using that prowess, what they can do is they can harm everyone else. So for all practical purposes, the overwhelming majority of Chinese people are bonded laborers of a certain kind, they are permitted to do certain things, but they cannot go beyond a certain level. Even if there’s gross violation of human rights or check to security or anything of Chinese people itself.
I don’t think Chinese people are in a position to protest, both because of confusion, so called idea of harmony, where, you know, masters have to be subservient to ruler. So psychologically they have been conditioned, and otherwise, also, it is not possible. So the kind of technology, Chinese have been able to innovate surveillance technology, you talk about precision strike technology, you’re able to talk about. So domestically and internationally, a very small number of people have become far too powerful. And this power can go into their head, they can inflict huge damages everywhere, not only within China, but globally. And that’s a threat to entire mankind, Mayank this is what I feel.
I have been talking about it if you see my first lecture 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 an asset, why and how India should be worried and how should we go about countering it?
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 to what extent it threatens world or Europe etc. we don’t know. But it seriously threatens us. There’s a disguise kind of plunder of India, which is taking place through China. But a larger threat to mankind arises from the fact that Chinese have demonstrated their global ambitions, they have mocked West, they have mocked America, they have mocked Europe. And with this kind of, you know, technology earlier, we were talking about, for example, the F-17. Besides, we’re talking about with the speed of Mach 5 to Mach 25. You know, they could strike all American bases in far east, they could dazzle all Americans satellites, or European satellites, and they could virtually blind them.
They’re underwater kind of research and innovation to strike and extract resources, marine resources, and strike anyone. And now they launched another version of missile, which people said that it 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, what kind of capacity China has acquired. And it is very well-known thing Mayank ji that any human being who has this kind of power with absolutely no restraint, can go wrong, can go insane. And that threat has come up. And that is where the entire system of global checks and balances are now under the threat of being dismantled.
And this is where I think is an issue where people are trying to highlight and threat beyond a point, if you say, metaphorically is genuinely for entire mankind. And earlier also I said that whatever progress we have attend towards democratization of the world following UDHR. That is being dismantled very clearly. Of course, it is not being dismantled by China alone, it is being dismantled by internal contradictions of some of the most established democracies like United States of America itself. It’s a dark phenomenon. Other places also, it’s not that being in India, we can take a very high moral position, we are also doing very bad on terms of equality and other issues Global Health parameters, we are also 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 democracy itself, my biggest worry is that, that if there is extreme inequality, and the way some people plunder and loot resources of India and they go to Western countries, the way our judiciary is becoming increasingly, I would say, irrelevant for all practical purposes or such a sluggish kind of judicial system, big kind of rule of law is a very serious threat to us.
So, we should not think that we will be pawn but you know, our stakeholders, they need to take the mantle of leadership and instead of you know, old Mughlai system of you know, worshipping individuals, which we have a long tradition in or not, after independence, only that tradition has been there for a millennium. So it has got into the psyche of Indians.
So but yes, simultaneously protest is also coming out. So we have to think, for ourselves. And so far government policy is, as I see, especially Prime Minister Modi’s policy, he may not have options, 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, that is one area, but you need far more brilliant ideas, initiatives, strategies, capacities, and in that direction, progress is not commensurate compared to the vision and aspiration for India that our prime minister has called 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 so far, you know, we had the almost near complete domination of the West over the rest, and there was fratricidal wars and conflicts within the West Germany, second world war time or even during first world war time, and this polarization was there other power said that.
But after 1945 after the end of second world war, we for the first time have an oriental power like China. Brilliant, as Asians, we feel very nice, but the kind of political system they are having the kind of psyche they’ve had for millennia, where, you know, the rulers have always been worshipped and even when this communist party came, and Mao was the second person in history of entire, so called Chinese civilization after Liu Bang, who was founder of Han Dynasty, he was second commoner, in a sense, you can say.
After that it is the most elitist kind of political system they have created, where rulers are, for all practical purposes, they are worshipped. Some small number of people, a small caucus, I would say it has become so powerful, it can do anything and there are no internal checks and balances, it doesn’t care and bother beyond the point about the wellbeing of its own people.
Of course, it has empowered its citizens to a certain extent. The citizens give power to the rulers. So, this kind of political system never existed where small number of people threatening entire mankind, this phenomenon is entirely new, and that is why they are trying to flag it.
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 capitalist model has given except pace of technological innovation in the West. They have to go towards larger democratization. They should not pressurize to do certain things, as far as autocratic systems are concerned, and they need to evolve and effective governance and security capacity for democracies that need to come together. They need to carry out innovation.
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 patronize the world. Sections in the West have been acknowledging they have been respectful to India also, I must say. But I think treat from China is genuine. And this is too superficial an approach that they are afraid.
Yes, there are sections so who continue to think that you know, the West is supreme, etc. So, I think they have to come down to the ground, they have to realize that for the sake of your own security, they need to partner democracies like India, I would say Japan, I would say even go in South Africa and a very different kind of multipolar world has to come up and their need for sanity on their part. Because what Chinese are doing, they are subverting Western democracies as well. And all open societies are vulnerable to subversion Mayank.
(You can listen to the entire conversation on the link given below.)