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Monday, November 28, 2022

Bharat – the crown jewel of American Empire?

Bharat (India) is gradually being colonized by the United States of America; and Bharatiyas (Indians) — politicians, pundits and elites included — are blissfully unaware or willfully ignorant about this shocking phenomenon. All the foundational sectors in Bharat have been taken over or strongly influenced by the US. However, people don’t even know they are being colonized, because the faces they see are all Bharatiya-origin.

America’s Control Over Bharat

Bharat’s social media and news media — the foundations of democracy — are dominated or monopolized by American corporations. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google Search mold people’s opinions through filters, censorship and bias. Bharat’s news media follow the American propaganda, only rarely speaking out when there is a direct conflict between the nations. Bharat’s #1 English TV channel is CNN, a.k.a CNN-News18.

Of course, Bharatiyas would never allow China’s CGTN to have such a channel — then they would suddenly be very concerned about propaganda and sovereignty!

In technology, the US again enjoys a virtual monopoly in Bharat. Almost all the hardware and software used in Bharat is of American origin. Hardware from Intel, HP, Dell… and software from Microsoft, Oracle etc. rule the landscape. Bharat’s 5G is also 100% foreign — from the US and its “allies.”

E-commerce and mobile payments are vital sectors of any country. In Bharat, these industries are dominated by US corporations — Amazon and Flipkart (Walmart) in e-commerce; Google Pay and PhonePe (Walmart) in mobile payments.

Imagine if at some point Bharat refuses to be 100% obedient and America decides to punish Bharat. The US can impose sanctions are turn off all its software, which would crash the Bharatiya economy. (You can see what Americans are capable of — look at the shock-and-awe sanctions on Russia; or how Americans are threatening the OPEC members).

Even without a conflict, the data that Americans are collecting from all these software is extremely valuable and dangerous. The US government complains about how TikTok can collect information about Americans. So, imagine how much more valuable is the information from Amazon, Google Pay, Facebook, Uber etc.

Moreover, thanks to Edward Snowden, we know that every software and hardware from the US is a spying machine. We are just willfully ignorant about how the USA is currently spying on all the Bharatiya politicians and business elites — remember how the US tapped the cell phones of Modi and Merkel. We just don’t want to think about it.

Bharat’s military is also increasingly dependent on the US. This is a big problem, since the American systems come with a lot of restrictions and strings attached. For example, countries that buy American fighter jets cannot operate them without special codes from the US every time those jets have to take off or bomb a target. Also, once you purchase US weapons, Bharatiya military will be infiltrated and influenced by American “advisors.”

Bharat’s Startups are American Companies

Bharatiya media and analysts proudly talk about all the Bharatiya “unicorns” — startups worth $1 billion or more. However, if you look at the investors (major shareholders), they are all foreigners, mostly Americans. Thus, these startups are actually AMERICAN unicorns with Bharatiya employees!

Start with Byju’s, Bharats largest unicorn startup. Who really owns it? AMERICA! Lead investors include Mark Zuckerberg, Blackrock, Sequoia Capital, SilverLake etc. This company might as well be working out of Palo Alto, California!

Next is Swiggy. Again, all the investors are American (and one, SAIF, is from Hong Kong). The big venture capitalists are all from California and New York — Accel, Norwest, Harmony, Bessemer etc. NOT a Bharatiya startup!

One last example: Ola Cabs … a competitor of Uber. But Ola is again way more Japanese and American than it is Bharatiya. So, this is the repeating story of Bharat’s vibrant startup sector.

Bharat Faces Obscure Colonialism

What’s happening in Bharat is soft colonialism. People don’t even know they are being colonized, because the faces they see are all Bharatiyas. But the big decisions are made by Americans; and the profits go to major shareholders in America.

Perhaps 10 or 20 years ago, it might have made sense to depend on foreign investments and technology to such an extent. However, Bharat now has multi-billionaires and millionaires. There is no need to let foreigners control or own our corporations and startups. A smart thing would be to limit foreign control to a minority stake, especially in critical sectors.

The US has cleverly manipulated Bharatiyas. Many Bharatiyas are very proud of the fact that PIOs (People of Indian Origin) are the CEOs of Microsoft, Google, IBM etc. However, successful Indian-Americans don’t make Bharat successful. They just help America take over Bharat.

For example: If Pepsi comes to Bharat and starts drilling groundwater for free, there will be an outcry. So, Pepsi made a Bharatiya-origin woman the CEO for a few years and got the doors opened in Bharat. She’s gone now but Pepsi’s exploitation will continue.

Similarly, Bharatiyas don’t mind Google dominating mobile payments, because Google’s CEO is Bharat-born. So, this makes Google look less foreign or threatening. But Sundar Pichai is just a temporary face. Plus, when he is making tens of millions of dollars a year, he cannot think clearly. It’s just human psychology.

The financial sector is the last one standing in Bharat. Sooner or later, the privatization forces will come after that. Perhaps Bank of America’s next CEO will be an Indian-American?

Conclusion

Bharat’s Prime Minister Modi talks about self-reliance or “Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.” This is a good goal but the facts on the ground reflect the opposite trend.

While Bharat refuses to join free trade agreements like RCEP, it has left the barn’s door wide open for America to colonize Bharat in vital sectors. Bharatiya politicians are protecting the domestic dairy industry from foreign competition, while letting America take over Bharat’s media, e-commerce, 5G, and mobile payments. How genius! Penny wise and pound foolish.

There are two things that Bharat should do.

First, bring back Chinese tech companies and investors. A healthy competition between China and the US would not only lower costs but will act as an insurance policy against US sanctions.

Second, work on developing indigenous companies for all the life-blood sectors. It should not be hard to develop Bharatiya solutions for search engines, cloud computing, e-commerce, mobile payments etc. (Here, Bharat should follow the China model, which has resulted in China having more Fortune 500 firms than the US! There should be Bharatiya versions of Alibaba, Tencent, JD.com, Huawei etc.)

If Bharat wants fast growth and a status of a global power, it needs to extricate itself from the tentacles of foreign governments and foreign corporations. Else, just like how Bharat was the crown jewel of the British Empire before, Bharat will become the crown jewel of the American Empire.

-By SL Kanthan

(This article first appeared on SL Kanthan’s substack on October 10, and has been reproduced with permission, with minor edits to conform to HinduPost style-guide)

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