Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #213 - The Zuozhuan Chronicles

States have always used businesses as their proxies. From Columbus, Vasco Da Gama, East India Company to Coca Cola, Facebook, Twitter and Huawei. Adanis and Ambanis are forces, not corporates!

Photo by Bryan Gomes from Pexels

“Now I can look at you in peace; I don't eat you any more.” ― Franz Kafka


Zuozhuan is China’s oldest historical war narrative that chronicles the decline of one of the strongest empires in its history - the Zhou dynasty (which ran from 1045 to 256 BC). Although most people love to read Sun Tzu’s Art of War to understand the Chinese strategic thinking around war, however, its precepts are based on Zuozhuan.

It runs over stories, machinations, tactics, and strategies of different commanders, ministers over a tumultuous 255 years (722 to 468 BC) and how the different powers made their choices given the ever-changing inter-relationships.

Zhou was not just a dynasty. It was a system of life, rules, and ways that relationships and governance were conducted. And the smaller states were either within the Zhou system or outside.

From around 632 to 546 BC, Jin and Chu were two states which were engaged in a battle for the hegemonic status. While Jin was a powerful state within the Zhou system, the state of Chu was outside of that powerful dynastic influence. In some ways, the Jin-Chu fight mirrors that of the US and China. The US is more akin to Jin, in how it led to the shaping of the current Western system, which passes off as the international structure. If it was to collapse, then the US will lose the most. The state of Chu is representative of current China. It started out as an outsider to the existing international structure but has found that it is better to not just engage and be part of this whole system but to co-opt and twist it to its own terms. And that is the main sentiment that Chinese geopolitics demonstrates.

In 594 BC, after an inconclusive battle between Chu and Song, the Peace of Song accord was signed, which held Jin, Chu, Qi, and Qin as the most powerful states, and the other smaller states had to submit themselves to the power of these two. The Battle of Bi in 597 BC had seen the defeat of Jin at the hands of Chu, and it was smarting from that defeat. So, it devised a new plan - despite the Peace of Song. It engaged a small state called Wu and instructed them to launch small but effective attacks on the Chu state. These were to be short and quick raids. After a few decades, these became larger invasions. And in 506 BC, the small state of Wu scored a decisive victory over the much larger and powerful state of Chu. The state which had defeated Jin, the larger kingdom and instigator of Wu, was defeated by Jin’s underling!

Although Chu was able to get back its territory and get some of its past glory back, it was now badly weakened.

Does that sound familiar in the triangle of India, Pakistan, and China? Even in how China is handling and dealing with the US? Xi Jinping, btw, is an avid follower of the Chronicles of Zuo.

India’s history of war chronicles has been destroyed as was our narrative. But other civilizations have relied on many millennia of lessons from battles and intrigue that have worked over human history. And, those lessons have a central theme - intrigue, battles, conniving, espionage, and destabilization efforts never stop. War is a continuing part of a state’s existence, not an event.

Those who romanticize the concept of eternal peace are basically fools and idiots who will eventually run the whole society down.


Yesterday’s newsletter discussed in detail how a small unrest in a village in Bengal was used to create a larger anarchist insurgency in India in the shape of Naxals. Also how the Chinese, using Indian Communists had run the most progressive and developed state in India until the 1960s into the ground! Some may have questioned revisiting that part of Indian modern political (rather geopolitical) history. Well, let us see today see how that sad loop of China using internal actors to disrupt India’s destiny keeps playing out over and over again. Same playbook. Same organizations. Same media narratives. And the same machinations. Even the suicidal masochism of the victims, the Indian population specifically the intellectuals, is the same!

The Chinese game - two case studies

In July this year, Jio Platforms, the technology subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries announced that it had developed the 5G technology solutions for India and the field deployment will start as early as in 2021.

Reliance - Huawei games playing out on the street?

Later in October, Jio Platforms firmed up a partnership with Qualcomm Technologies and said that it is fast-tracking the development and roll-out of indigenous 5G network infrastructure and services in India.

Basically, Jio was leading the front for a China-free tech future in telecom.

Jio’s announcement comes at a time when the world is tilting towards China-free tech. Countries around the world, including the UK and the US, have already banned Chinese players like Huwaei. (Source)

This, at a time when the world is running away from Huawei as their 5G telecom partner. A pushback that was initiated by the US government was later joined by other countries. Incidentally, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo had even praised Reliance Jio saying that it was a clean network as he dinged Huawei’s compromised tech. This could essentially mean that Jio may have a shot at replacing Huawei around the world as the preferred 5G network. Some are calling it the end of Huawei’s 5G ambitions

The tech giant was recently banned from Britain's 5G network. In 2018, Australia banned Huawei from supplying equipment for a 5G mobile network. New Zealand and Canada have also left Huawei out of their 5G plans. France has ruled out a total ban but reportedly urged 5G telecom operators to avoid using Huawei equipment. However, Italy and Germany have remained undecided. (Source)

The US government was moving ahead strongly against Huawei and taking it out of the whole 5G equation and also warning others against it.

The core issue with Huawei has been concerns about its coziness with the Chinese government and fears that its equipment could be used to spy on other countries and companies. It's the reason why, in 2012, the US banned companies from using Huawei networking equipment and why the company was added to the US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security Entity List in May 2019, following an executive order from President Donald Trump effectively banning Huawei from US communications networks. A year later, Trump extended the order until 2021. (Source)

And it was not without any reason. After all, US officials had found that Huawei had been using “backdoors” intended for law enforcement to access the networks that it had constructed.

Chinese tech giant Huawei can reportedly access the networks it helped build that are being used by mobile phones around the world. It's been using backdoors intended for law enforcement for over a decade, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing US officials. The details were disclosed to the UK and Germany at the end of 2019 after the US had noticed access since 2009 across 4G equipment, according to the report. (Source)

This take on Huawei had even led to a major showdown between the Huawei executive and a US Department of Defense official.

A Huawei executive and a US Department of Defense official got onstage together Wednesday at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, and the conversation got heated. Katie Arrington, an official in charge of acquisition at the Defense Department, insisted that lawmakers and President Donald Trump had good reason to remove Huawei products from government use. Huawei USA Chief Security Officer Andy Purdy said the decision was the wrong approach. (Source)

A British parliamentary inquiry also concluded that Huawei was in collusion with the Chinese Communist Party and therefore a national security threat.

There is "clear evidence of collusion" between Huawei and the "Chinese Communist Party apparatus", a parliamentary inquiry has concluded. And the MPs say the government may need to bring forward a deadline set for the Chinese firm's 5G kit to be removed from the UK's mobile networks. (Source)

The result - taking out of Huawei from the 5G market. And, Jio is the one who is going ahead full speed to be its replacement.

In India, of course, both - Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp (both Chinese companies - were kept out of the 5G trials. (Source) India was not just shutting its own market for the Chinese companies aligned with the Chinese Communist Party, the Indian companies were leading the charge against these compromised Chinese companies across the world!

So when the supposed “farmers” in Punjab go after Jio telecom towers particularly, does it sound strange?

Farmers and their kin have allegedly cut the power supply to a little over 1,500 Reliance Jio mobile towers amid the ongoing protest against the Centre’s farm laws. It has led to widespread communication outage in parts of the state. It has come to light that 200 mobile towers are being damaged on a daily basis in the state. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had earlier appealed to the protesting farmers to not indulge in vandalism. (Source)

Srivatsa, the national campaign in-charge of Youth Congress, and the former Karnataka Congress social media head had instigated and cheered the bringing down of the Jio towers and how it was a way to bring Modi down.

“Farmers have understood that the only way to get Modi to directly talk to them is through making Ambani feel pain (sic). If this starts happening across India, Modiji will come running to Singhu Border”

Strange logic. Specifically, since it was just last year that the Indian Income Tax department had done an investigation on the Mukesh Ambani family and had served them notices under the provisions of the 2015 Black Money Act. (Source)

towers not even owned by Reliance but by a shady Canadian company

And, here is the crazy thing. The Reliance Jio cell towers are not owned by Reliance or Ambanis anymore.

Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings (RIIHL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL), has entered into binding agreements with Canada’s Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP and its institutional partners for an investment of Rs 25,215 crore in the telecom tower assets of the RIL. In a notification to the stock exchanges, RIL noted that Brookfield and its partners would invest Rs 25,215 crore in the units to be issued by the Tower Infrastructure Trust. At the closing of the transaction, the Trust will own 100 per cent of the issued and paid up equity share capital of Reliance Jio lnfratel. Brookfield will buy 100 per cent units issued by the Trust, which, in turn, owns 100 per cent equity of Reliance Jio Infratel, the operating company for Jio’s tower assets. (Source)

Brookfield is a shady Canadian company, which started off from Seagram’s founder Samuel Bronfman’s nephews after a family feud. The nephews had created a complex corporate empire with Pagurian Corporation at the center. A name which comes from a “species of crab that, having no shell of its own, steals the exteriors of dead snails.”

Following a series of name changes, mergers and share-swaps that brought together many of the former Bronfman companies, Pagurian is today known as Brookfield Asset Management. Its leaders have soared in wealth and influence since the departure of the Bronfmans. (Source)

Brookfield now is a multi-billion dollar asset management company and has links to the Qatari establishment.

The known links between Qatar and Brookfield all converge on the investment group’s listed property fund BPY. About one-tenth of the fund’s assets are tied up in skyscrapers in Canary Wharf and Manhattan that are co-owned by Qatar, but the connection goes further. Through a sovereign wealth fund, Doha is one of BPY’s biggest investors, holding $1.8bn worth of BPY preferred equity. The securities have a debtlike quality, and Qatar can force BAM to buy them back for $1.8bn over the next six years. (Source)

It is, therefore, quite strange that a shady company with links to the Qatari establishment owns 100% of all the Reliance Jio cell towers (should be a national security issue!). Assets, which have been attacked and are being dismantled rapidly in Punjab by the so-called farmers (200 a day), do not even belong to Ambani’s Reliance anymore!

But this bringing down of the Jio towers specifically is not just a warning shot at Reliance from the Pakistan/China/Congress-backed anarchists masquerading as farmers, but also another way to take Punjab in the same direction that West Bengal was taken from the 1960s onwards. (Read - Issue #212 - Rule of the Obnoxious)

attacking “Move out of China” companies

In March 2020, Wistron Corp - one of the top manufacturing partners of Apple - had announced that as much as half of its capacity could be moved out of China within a year. Coronavirus situation had made everyone evaluate their production dependence on China. (Source)

By August, as many as 19 companies - including Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wistron had applied under the Production-Linked Incentive scheme for getting cost breaks by moving their facilities to India. (Source) The exodus was getting more ambitious by the day.

A government committee has already cleared their applications, Bloomberg reports. Apple already plans to move one-fifth of its production capacity from China to India, according to Indian news website Etnownews.com. (Source)

Cut to December. And, Wistron’s Karnataka plant was vandalized and office property was ransacked.

Thousands of employees of the Apple’s contract manufacturer Wistron India were recently seen entering into the facility at Narasapura in Kolar, Karnataka, vandalising and ransacking the office properties. Wistron is a Taiwan-based manufacturer that makes iPhones for Apple Inc. (Source)

A damage of over Rs 435 crores!

Wistron Apple iPhone facility violence case: A First Information Report (FIR) has been registered against 7,000 unknown people including 5,000 contract workers in connection with violence and vandalism at the facility of Wistron Pvt Ltd, manufacturer of iPhone, at its plant in Kolar, police said. (Source)

The labor unions in Wistron were seen as the culprits. Seven workforce vendor firms had been operating in Wistron.

The Karnataka police, meanwhile, arrested ‘Comrade Srikanth’, the local president of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) – a student body of the Communist Party of India in connection with the violence.

The Kolar Rural Police had said that on December 12th, Srikanth and other SFI activists had entered the Wistron premises and participated in the vandalism. This was after WhatsApp messages were sent out - curated by none other than Srikanth himself - instigating the employees for the violence.

On December 12, the employees of Wistron and SFI had planned to hold a protest outside Kolar Collector Sathyabhama’s office at 11 am. Police alleged that Srikanth curated a WhatsApp message, calling for the protest outside the Collector's office, which was circulated widely among employees. (Source)

The result -Apple has placed Wistron on probation and the company will not get any new business from Apple until “corrective actions” are completed.

A week after Taiwanese contract manufacturer Wistron's plant was damaged during an incident of vandalism by a few workers, Apple's preliminary findings indicate violations of 'Apple's Supplier Code of Conduct' leading to payment delays for some workers. As a result, Apple has placed Wistron on probation and the company will not receive any new business from Apple before corrective actions are completed. (Source)

Yesterday, we had read about how West Bengal was destroyed as a state by the Communists backed by China. (Issue #212 - Rule of the Obnoxious)

Do the stories of Jio and Wistron look eerily familiar?

Why do we let the same playbook run over and over again against us while deliberately not understanding what is going on? As they say - if someone fools us once, shame on him; but if he fools us twice, shame on us! India is almost like a nation of zombies - even the educated going around in a daze with masochistic naivete in every situation while the enemies play out their games.

market corner: 10 quick bytes

  1. Why the Xi Jinping regime is taking on Jack Ma, China’s most famous billionaire - more

  2. AirAsia to sell 32.67% of stake in its Indian operations to Tata Sons - more

  3. 8 of top-10 valued firms lose Rs 1.11 trn in m-cap; ICICI, RIL worst hit - more

  4. Almost 50% of people to ring in 2021 at home, order food online, a pan-India survey - more

  5. User fee collection through FASTag crosses Rs 80 cr per day with record 50 lakh transactions: NHAI - more

  6. Sheila Patel, 51, chairman of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s asset-management unit, is leaving the $1.8 trillion division after almost two decades at the firm - more

  7. Center ready with blueprint, design of Faceless Assessment Scheme of direct taxes: Finance Secretary - more

  8. Six out of the top 10 infrastructure companies struggling to stay afloat - more

  9. Rs 3,500 crore sugar subsidy to help sustain exports at last year's level: Crisil - more

  10. Tesla To Start Operations In India Next Year: Report - more

nota bene

New Strain in 6 travelers: Six persons who returned to India from the United Kingdom have tested positive for the new UK variant genome of SARS-CoV2, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday. It said the mutated UK strain was detected in samples in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, in CCMB, Hyderabad, and one in NIV, Pune. All these persons have been kept in single room isolation at designated health care facilities by respective state governments and their close contacts have also been put under quarantine, the ministry said (Source)

Ambani needs to deliver: Mukesh Ambani spent much of 2020 convincing Facebook Inc., Google, and a clutch of Wall Street heavyweights to buy into his vision for one of the world’s most ambitious corporate transformations. Now flush with $27 billion in fresh capital, Asia’s richest man is under pressure to deliver his promised projects. These include developing products for the anticipated roll-out next year of a local 5G network; incorporating Facebook’s WhatsApp payments service into Reliance’s digital platform; and integrating the company’s e-commerce offerings with a network of physical mom-and-pop shops across the country. (Source)

Six eyes now?: Amid calls within the Japanese government to join the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence-sharing alliance, it provided key inputs to the US and the UK regarding the Chinese clampdown on Uyghurs, reported Kyodo News. Five Eyes is a network of five nations -- Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and the US who collaborated to better respond to increasing threats by North Korea and China. Japan is on its way to become the ‘sixth eye’. (Source)

Possible First Woman Dictator: Kim Jong Un’s little sister has emerged as North Korea’s most outspoken attack dog, securing her place as a possible successor to the leadership. If successful, then Kim Yo Jong will become the First Woman Dictator in Modern History. (Source)

Canceling Homer: Now, a Massachusetts school has banned Homer’s “The Odyssey”. A sustained effort is underway to deny children access to literature. Under the slogan #DisruptTexts, critical-theory ideologues, schoolteachers, and Twitter agitators are purging and propagandizing against classic texts—everything from Homer to F. Scott Fitzgerald to Dr. Seuss. (Source)

41000+ cases a day!: Britain could be put into 'Tier 5' restrictions, it has been claimed, with England's hospitals are now treating more Covid patients than they ever did in the first wave. Britain today recorded 41,385 cases of Covid in the largest one-day increase since the pandemic began - up from around 17,700 exactly a week ago Government statistics also show today's coronavirus death count is up 66 percent. (Source)

video corner: best speeches of Atal Bihari Vajpayee

I still remember having waited for hours to listen to Atal Bihari Vajpayee in an election speech in the 1980s. The words he used, his manner, and the lisp made his oratory all the more charming. These days one can hardly hear anything good in Hindi. Most of it is in Urdu, most of which is an amateur imitation by wannabes.

Quite nostalgic to listen to excerpts from his top main speeches.


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