(151227) -- KOLKATA, Dec. 27, 2015 (Xinhua) -- Supporters of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) take part in a mass gathering at Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata, capital of eastern Indian state West Bengal, Dec. 27, 2015. The five-day plenum of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) kicked off with thousands of party supporters gathered here on Sunday. (Xinhua/Tumpa Mondal) (zjy)

Supporters of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) take part in a mass gathering at Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata, capital of eastern Indian state West Bengal, Dec. 27, 2015. (Xinhua)

In December 2017, a peculiar development made the headlines of Indian national news. The face and name of North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, came up bold and strong on posters. Such posters belonged to the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), a party prominent in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

A certain issue was unfolding and the Kerala CPI-M unit had made statements about the news being “mistakes”. This should have quietened down after that, but they did not. A few days later, Pinarayi Vijayan, the Chief Minister of Kerala, made a series of statements at a CPI-M district committee meeting in the town of Kozhikode. Among the things he said:

“North Korea has been following a tough anti-US agenda.”

“North Korea has been more effective than China in countering the US.”

“North Korea is showcasing a better example of defending the world against ‘imperialist forces’”.

“North Korea’s resistance against the US is ‘impressive’”.

These statements were concerning to much of India and social media became active with comments. One pun based on a 1995 Kerala film referred to the Chief Minister Vijayan and Kim as: “Aniyan Bava, Chetan Bava” – Elder Brother, Younger Brother.

And the most popular meme that circulated SNS platforms was:

Kim: I have a nuclear button on my desk.

Trump: My button is bigger and more powerful.

Kerala CM: I like Kim’s button.

Online media has now settled down and people have moved on, but the incident does leave many questions left unanswered. The Communist Party of India had split once before, forming the CPI and CPI-M. Both parties have continued in their affiliations with China and Russia over the years.

Regarding North Korea, there have been some developments between Kim and his big brothers, China and Russia; even as the two Koreas have been talking to de-escalate tensions. Historically, China has been North Korea’s diplomatic protector. Now, however, with the UN Security Council’s new penalties, China has tightened its restrictions on North Korea since January 6, 2018. China will no longer be sharing any military or weapons programme with the North.

Thus, right now, the United States and China seem to be taking a united tough stand, particularly after recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests by North Korea. In this context, it is interesting to note what the Russian President, Vladimir Putin and the head of his Security Council, had said in December 2017.

Putin was responding to a query from an Associated Press journalist, when he said: “You’re interesting people, really. Have you noticed your congressmen, your senators, they look so nice and handsome with ties and shirts, and they seem to be smart people…”

He continued, “But they put [Russia] on the same shelf as North Korea or Iran. And at the same time, they ask the U.S. President to address the issues of North Korea and the Iranian nuclear program together with us. Are you OK? It just looks weird. It just doesn’t make much sense…We don’t recognize North Korea as a nuclear state, we think that all the things happening there are counterproductive.”

“There was an agreement in 2005 that they would suspend their nuclear program and they made a number of commitments. Everybody was happy; we all agreed and signed to the agreement. A few months later, the U.S. decided to go beyond this agreement. [The US] froze their assets and bank accounts, all of a sudden saying North Korea should do something beyond the previous agreement,” Putin said, adding, “North Korea then withdrew from this agreement, and relaunched its nuclear program. Why did you do that? Why did you sign this agreement if you thought it was not enough? You provoked North Korea to withdraw from this agreement, and [now it is] even worse…”

“You have to stop at a certain point, you have to stop this from spiralling. This is extremely dangerous.”

Putin’s last line leads into what Nikolai Patrushev, Chairman of Russia’s Security Council stated. In early December, he indicated that Russia has been making preparations in the event of a diplomatic crisis escalating into full-fledged war. When Nikolai was directly asked about the likeliness of war he said, “We are assessing this and preparing. This will not be something unanticipated.”

Does any of this have anything to do with Kim posters surfacing in India’s Kerala State and the statements made by its Chief Minister Vijayan?

There sure is enough food for thought in a report based on a Press Trust of India feed published in the Economic Times of India. It turned out this was actually a 1985 CIA report that was declassified in January 2017. The CIA report states that the Soviets pumped cash into India in the era of the erstwhile Prime Ministers, Indira Gandhi and her son, Rajiv Gandhi. It clearly states that Russia funded the CPI and CPI-M (among others) “through a combination of kickback schemes, normal business transactions and direct cash payments”.

Looking at what is alleged about Russia in the last presidential election of the United States, the “KGB” type of machinery is alive and well. How, then, can we know or learn of their machinations to serve their political interests in the India of today?

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