The world is undergoing a churning. COVID-19 has brought it out what was in the womb of international world order since the end of ideologies, and arrival of economics with the advent of new century. It is the strategic interests of nations to remain growing on business expansions and tacit hegemonies on one hand, and on the other, the emergent cult conservative ruling elites to foster populism and create the immediate other to crush opposition and dissent, as much as possible. The contradictions are wide open, difficult to cover up. Internally, it is to appease religious hardcore, native hardcore, cults and castes, while internationally to approve neoliberalism and move with fluid alliance, with an abrupt compromise. India must be watching very closely the hand shake of two new brothers, previously a name given to the alliances on ideological or religious basis. Iran on the other hand, must be sizing up in its estimation on the new embrace of Israel and UAE. The implications are evident. China's haste, never before as evident as of now is very obvious. It knows its global power and is very sensitive for its proper legitimacy. China wants to shun its stigmatized image, as quick as possible. Its failure to woo US and western countries through peaceful negotiations met disappointment. For the COVID19 proved too dreadful for the humanity and blocked the march of development. Understanding this, it has no choice but to show its power to turn into appearance of strength and arrogance, overtly. It wanted India to be by its side in its hard testing times to oppose western campaign about Wuhan virus. It failed in that. In vengeance it is wooing Pakistan so forcefully not only to irk India, but use its influence to overcome resistance in its ambitious plan of expansionism. China is stigmatized with Wuhan virus and it blocks its claim to be accepted as the global leader to replace US. It is perturbed by it. The western countries, especially religious west is hard to forget it so easily. China knows it well that west would covertly or directly try to empower India, for the COVID shadowed west has little choice. China would never wish India and Pakistan to come closer. Its OROB massive project has its seeds in CPEC. Pakistan is its client state not only to remain hastily engaged against India, but also whip Ughurs to help China to go up steeply in Xinjiang. China likes to keep conservative religious base in Arab countries in good humor by supporting ostentatiously Islamic strong men at the helm of affairs, who can promote its interests against the western liberal democracies. What an irony it is! Turkey is changing museums into mosques and China converts historical 'mosques into washrooms', yet the governing elite in these countries are in agreement in their strategic partnerships. Thus strategic partnerships are cooperation against common imagined adversaries, nothing to do with religion, profane, sacred or otherworldly affairs. Never before in history has it surfaced so explicitly. China and America competing and controlling market race that had started with the advent of this century, its ugliness to surface has been prompted by COVID 19. No wonder UAE and Israel alliance with the western involvement is to checkmate the Himalayan corridor project that has conceitedly China's imperialism in offing. While taking these track countries with consent in its debt trap, through the mirage of economic development and assured national security, the regimes also in competition want to join its project of OROB. It is China's 'Alternate Modernity Project', imperialism with soft power and hard currency.
How is US weighing its long range plans? No doubt, policies would remain the same, even if there is a change of political power in November. It is already in process, the fault lines in China are real, more severe than the presumed fault lines of India and Pakistan, as envisaged. India does have the fault lines that has been tested repeatedly and perpetually by its adversaries. Nevertheless, the imagined fault lines are its strength also. It has the diverse mode of productions, diversities and lived religion to the extent that nothing remains hidden, with rooted democracy that works as cushion for any national shock. Despite adversaries trying to make it a communal and caste strife country, the lived religion and economic dependence and diversities churned by development and process of democratization keep it for imagining in 'TV talks shows' and debates only. No doubt such things can cause poor humans to suffer, but, it won't give any satisfaction to them that India could be Balkanized. However, the governing politics has to comprehend that the divisive politics is finally a degenerative politics, a loss of public sphere. In China nothing is transparent. On the other hand, China is not an open society. The West and the US, since Sino America Treaty of 1972, gradually and steadily have given space to evangelical churches, a price that China has paid for its liberalization and opening out to the western world. Most Chinese Churches are homegrown. 'The whirlwind is boosting demand for the consolations of religion'. It is presumed that Christians have grown over the decades at unimaginable level. There is no denying that world's major religions are currently engaged in a scramble for China. By one survey, fifty six people in China think that religion is important. Buddhism, Taoism on Confucianism and Christianity are popular among majority. Its temples and Churches are on rise and the faith and rituals are taking strong roots. Muslims about twenty millions are more visible and live in segregation. It is difficult to ignore that in ensuing years if China's supply of raw materials reduces, the regime of China can contain the peoples' upsurge for freedom and free worship. It has its economic prosperity, while missionaries too were silently working for their purpose. The global churning of making and fading alliances has only one message that that your house and your region should be in order and each country has to work for it. Or else, it is an invitation to big catastrophe of unimaginable human loss and destruction.
Ashok Kaul, is Professor Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.