India is facing the threat of war from China in the Himalayas, while a war on Iran by the joint efforts of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the US also looks imminent as Asia is becoming the epicenter of the conflict.
In a series of geopolitical developments, Pakistan PM Imran Khan met Afghan-Taliban leader Mullah Baradar last week, following which Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had a meeting with the US Special Envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad along with General Austin Scott Miller, the US Commander Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.
Mulla Baradar had also earlier met the Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, in Doha, and Milley, thereafter, met UAE Crown Prince MbZ and then dashed off to Tel Aviv to meet Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz following a stopover at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In addition, the Indian Army chief, General MM Naravane, has recently returned after his tour to the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). India is determined to face a two-and-a-half front war i.e., with China, Pakistan as well as the insurgency in the Northeast and the Khalistan issue.
China has made it clear that Beijing could very well support the Northeast’s separatists and the Khalistani cause if New Delhi continued to meddle in Taiwan affairs.
Analysts are now of the view that once a war in the Himalayas breaks out, the Afghanistan region will also feel the heat as the pro-India Ashraf Ghani government is likely to scuttle any Pakistani moves. India, with the backing of BECA, is now firmly with the US and Israel, as well as the UAE and the KSA.
The KSA has been a die-hard ally of the US and all the Arab nations could benefit India as the country, out of its deft diplomacy, is on the right side of the table.
Pakistan is also banking on the support of China which is equally irked by India’s decision to abrogate Article 370 which gave special powers to Jammu and Kashmir and both countries took the issue to the UN thrice since August 5, 2019, when Article 370 was annulled.
— India in Saudi Arabia (@IndianEmbRiyadh) December 22, 2020
It is likely that Pakistan may be discarded, even officially by both the UAE and the KSA, as what the body language of Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi suggested while he held a press conference in the UAE on December 18. His presser was virtually blacked-out as the UAE could not fathom from its soil the ‘false flag war rhetoric’ attributed to India. The issue of Pakistan job visas canceled by the UAE (and instead given to India) is still in limbo.
In what may be called the last salvo of the outgoing US President Donald Trump, the US has got approved from its Senate a Law, on December 22, to open its consulate in Lhasa, Tibet, which is definitely going to be a great fillip to the Indian posturing vis-à-vis China as it amounts to be a US answer from Indian side over Khalistan.
China which is contesting to recover its ancient land of 1,500 years back from India and elsewhere, whether it is Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Nepal, Sikkim or Bhutan as Mao’s five-finger policy, is now openly seeking support from Russia, Afghan-Taliban to counter the US along with Iran and Turkey.
The US initiative is now an invitation of war with China and its immediate fallout would be on India as China would block the Brahmaputra waters to India. Beijing might be also forced to offer a choice to Arab states to either choose China or the US, which would be the hardest position for China to entail, as that would block China’s exports, but as a matter of fact, the US would always remain the first choice of the Arab nations.
Chargé d'Affaires Mr. Raghuram S handed over COVID test kits to Afghanistan Ministry of Health as a part of India's continued commitment to partner and assist Afghanistan in combating the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/gq66QsMVT8
— India in Afghanistan (@IndianEmbKabul) December 14, 2020
The Arab states stood with the US with their finances as the country bulldozed Afghanistan and Iraq and, thereafter, came the destruction of Libya, Yemen, Syria, etc.
The US sanctions on Turkey are already in place. Similar sanctions are coming on China, and with it, on Pakistan too. Iran is facing similar sanctions for decades and Israel and other Arab states seem to be preparing for a war on the country after the US President-elect Joseph Biden takes over or maybe even prior to it.
Iran has openly accused Israel of killing its nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in Tehran and had retaliated by killing Israeli intelligence Mossad’s officer Fahmi Hinawi in Tel Aviv, which was first reported on Sputnik News on December 5 but was refuted as fake. The Sputnik News on December 7 carried a report which said “Netizens, engaging in heated debate, said that Israeli media either did not report the story or claimed Hinavi to be an ordinary citizen”. The reality, however, is very difficult to find through the maze of secrecy that Israel maintains.
Meanwhile, the Chinese origin citizens of the US are reportedly getting ‘daily threats’ to go back to the country from where they migrated decades back and the US in order to propel India against China has rewarded Narendra Modi with ‘US Legion of Merit Award’ on December 22 in order to establish Modi as a world leader to come face-to-face with China.
There is, therefore, every possibility of war, with only a guess, as to whether it would first start in the Middle-East against Iran or in the Himalayas. The year 2020 was a disaster for the spread of COVID-19, but 2021 could be even more cataclysmic.
The writer is a former State Information Commissioner, India. He is a media analyst and writes on international politics. Views expressed are his own.