Indian Media is Spreading Fake News About A Russian-Chinese Rivalry In Mali

“The Frustrated Indian”, a popular Indian media outlet with over 1.2 million followers on Facebook, is propagating fake news by alleging that the recent military coup in Mali was a Russian-backed regime change effort to spoil China’s Silk Road plans in the Sahel, which represents yet another desperate and discredited effort by the South Asian state’s media to drive a wedge between its two nominal BRICS and SCO partners.

India’s Divide-And-Rule Designs Against Russia & China

India is extremely uncomfortable with the fact that Russian-Chinese ties remain strong in the aftermath of the recent Galwan Incident between the neighboring Asian Great Powers since the South Asian state can’t bring itself to accept its Eurasian partner’s “balancing” act between them both. The country’s strategists are pursuing a zero-sum foreign policy influenced by their government’s new American patron whereby they seek to pressure all of India’s partners to “choose a side” in the New Cold War between the US and China, exactly as New Delhi has already done in support of the former against the latter. Moscow’s “middle ground” between it and Beijing is therefore regarded as completely unacceptable by Indian decision makers, who want Russia to more assertively back India in its ambitious competition with China across the vast Afro-Pacific (“Indo-Pacific”) space. In pursuit of this grand strategic objective, Indian media — which is influenced by the ruling BJP Hindu nationalists to an extremely strong degree — has taken to spreading fake news about Russia and China in recent weeks in the hope that this can succeed in driving a wedge between their country’s nominal BRICS and SCO partners.

This Isn’t The First Infowar Attack

The author drew attention to this divide-and-rule meddling in his analysis earlier this month about how “India’s Latest Infowar On Russia Concerns Fake Chinese Territorial Claims”, which importantly noted that there’s really no reason for it to have commenced this international influence operation in the first place since bilateral ties with Russia are already excellent and arguably even more promising in the long-term than Russia’s ones with China. The article warned that carrying out such crude infowar attacks against the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership risks backfiring on India since Moscow might begin to trust it less and suspect that New Delhi might even be carrying out this campaign at the behest of its new patron in Washington. That in turn might derail the promising prospects that these two historic partners have across the coming century should Russia come to regard India as an American proxy for spoiling its Greater Eurasian Partnership between the supercontinent’s many countries. That’s why the author strongly advised India to immediately cease these unfriendly actions in order to avoid ruining its strategic relations with Russia, but alas, this friendly advice wasn’t heeded and yet another infowar narrative was recently propagated by that country’s media.

Mali’s Latest Military Coup

“The Frustrated Indian”, a popular Indian media outlet with over 1.2 million likes on Facebook, published a piece earlier this week about how “The coup in Mali is a death knell to China’s BRI ambitions and it’s not the US, but Russia behind it”. The article conforms with the Western Mainstream Media narrative that Moscow might have been behind the West African de-facto failed state’s recent military coup since two of its organizers recently received training in Russia (though the third was trained in France). That interpretation of events is highly speculative since it assumes that the authorities ordered those trainees to carry out this regime change operation upon their return home. That’s likely not the case since the fact is that the spark for the latest military coup was long-simmering dissatisfaction among the rank-and-file over pay which coincided with rising anti-government protests following a disputed parliamentary election several months prior that was held against the backdrop of the authorities’ years-long but failed French-backed war on terror. There were already enough preexisting tensions in society to predict that a coup might have once again been in the works in this unstable country which last experienced such a regime change only eight years ago.

What’s “The Frustrated Indian” So Frustrated About?

Even so, repeating the Mainstream Media narrative about Russia’s speculative role in the latest Malian coup is one thing, but building upon it by presenting everything in terms of a non-existent Russian-Chinese rivalry there is something altogether different and coincides with the infowar pattern that the author earlier described. “The Frustrated Indian” falsely claimed that “Moscow’s increasing role in Mali shows that Russia doesn’t give two hoots about China’s interests in the Sahel region, reaffirming that Sino-Russian ties are all about expediency and not the friendship of any kind”, and that “While Putin maintains a ‘strategic axis of convenience’ with Beijing as he wants to pull Russian economy out of Western sanctions, a spurt in Russian influence in any part of the world often comes at the expense of China. And Mali is no exception.” There is no plausible reason whatsoever to even countenance such a wild interpretation of events that not even the stereotypically Russophobic and Sinophobic Western Mainstream Media thought to imagine. That says a lot about the devious intentions of Indian media nowadays that they’d go even further than their Western counterparts.

The Truth About Russia’s & China’s Strategies Towards Africa

It’s true that China envisions connecting the African coasts through a transport corridor that transits through Mali, as the author elaborated upon in his analysis back in February 2017 about how “The Sahelian-Saharan Silk Road Is One Of China’s Master Plans For Africa”. It’s also equally true that Russia has recently regained its Soviet-era interest in Africa, which he explained in his piece last October about how “Africa Needs Russia More Than Ever, And This Week’s Sochi Summit Proves It”. That said, there isn’t any conflict of interest between these two strategically partnered Great Powers in that continent. To the contrary, there’s actually a near-perfect complementarity whereby Russia’s “Democratic Security” outreaches there can help secure China’s New Silk Roads in exchange for a greater presence in those countries’ economies. Even if one cynically claims that the author’s portrayal of their overlapping grand strategies in Africa is “wishful thinking” and “too optimistic”, there’s still nothing of credence to claim that that the two are competing there, which would at “worst” mean that they’re independently pursuing separate policies that don’t have anything to do with each other’s main focus (security for Russia and infrastructure for China).

Why Won’t The BJP Put A Stop To This Counterproductive Operation?

The whole purpose in pointing this out in the context of “The Frustrated Indian’s” article on the topic of Mali’s latest military coup is to highlight the “wishful thinking” involved in its “reporting”, which the author strongly suspects is part of India’s ongoing infowar to drive a wedge between Russia and China for New Delhi’s (and also Washington’s) advantage. Whether or not that popular media outlet published that piece with this in mind is unimportant since it still conforms to the earlier identified trend, which risks worsening the excellent state of Russian-Indian relations the more that this pattern repeats itself since Moscow will inevitably wise up to the game that New Delhi is playing and thus begin to suspect it of acting on the US’ behalf. India, which never tires of repeating the misleading mantra that it’s the self-proclaimed “world’s largest democracy”, can always claim that so-called “freedom of speech” exists in the country and that it’s powerless to stop the media from publishing articles which propagate the false narrative of a hemispheric Russian-Chinese rivalry. That, however, wouldn’t be convincing since practically all media in India nowadays take their editorial cues from the BJP, so the ruling party could simply signal to them to stop if it really wanted them to and they’d all likely obey.

Concluding Thoughts

India’s infowar on the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership has spread to the West African state of Mali after previously targeting the Russian Far East city of Vladivistok and the Central Asian country of Tajikistan, which shows that it’s literally become hemispheric in scope over the course of just a single month. This observation is extremely troublesome since it suggests that India is rapidly expanding the geopolitical ambit of its divide-and-rule influence operations against its two nominal BRICS and SCO partners, perhaps to curry favor with its new American patron or possibly even at its behest. Nevertheless, India’s devious intentions are made clear after comparing its latest weaponized narrative on Mali with the Western Mainstream Media’s, the latter of which is much milder after exercising the editorial self-restraint needed to avoid completely discrediting itself by speculating that the latest coup there was hatched by Russia in order to spoil China’s regional Silk Road plans like “The Frustrated India” just did. If India doesn’t immediately cease its infowar against the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership, which could be easily done by simply stopping its attendant intelligence agencies’ activities and having the BJP unambiguously signal to its media surrogates how unacceptable it is for them to advance such a narrative any longer, then India needlessly risks worsening its excellent relations with Russia.

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