Indhopal and San Dorado: At the Conference
Raj Ahten wrote:
"It's good to see you again Commissioner Duquesne. Reminds me of the old days in the FTO. However with the FTO now a corpse, Indhopal is, as you know, reviewing our national security priorities. Border security is now considered to be of utmost importance. The Eastern Occidental may be queit now, but we are both aware of its troubled past and the possibility of future problems. In order to safeguard its borders Indhopal would like to take control of security arrangements in the Southeast portion of the zone, in the area roughly corresponding to the holdings of the O'Connor clan. We are willing to shoulder all the costs associated with the transition."
Duquesne sighed softly. The secretary's words didn't come as a surprise, after the recent ruckus in Klavostan it was patently obvious that Indhopal was trying to expand its sphere of influence - or 'secure its borders', but whichever way you wanted to put it the result was the same. Still, at least Christophe's opening move had been somewhat considerate. Charlie Duquesne, who'd spent years as San Dorado's first-ever ambassador to the CSR, knew all too well that meant there was room for negotiations. Valery Zorin would have been far more blunt
she thought and suppressed a smile. Despite herself she kind of missed the sly old wolf, deliberately infuriating as though he could be.
“First of all Mr. Christophe let me begin by saying that I have no definite authority over Eastern Occidental. The ultimate say about matters involving that area lies squarely with the local government in Kirkcaldy. And although I admit we may have some influence there I find it highly doubtful that they would just hand you control over their land. They have bled for that ground, Mr. Secretary, far more than any of our nations can claim to have done, so I have a feeling they will be most reluctant to relinquish control.
Secondly, as you well know the NFT is gradually reducing its military presence now that local forces are capable of handling most matters themselves. We have scaled back our troop levels from a full mechanized brigade to a mere five hundred or so liaisons and advisors, with plans to half that presence again by the middle of 2018. So I have to wonder about the timing of your inquiry.”
She paused briefly to nip of her wine, an excellent Don Gregorio rosé from the south of Cascadia, then looked Christophe squarely in the eye. “Mr. Secretary, I believe our nations go back far enough that we owe it to ourselves not to speak falsely to one another. We have made a move that went against your interests, and as a result your nation feels it cannot fully trust the NFT any longer. This is unfortunate but understandable, but I think we both know that diplomacy does not have to be a zero-sum game.
Eastern Occidental is currently a part of our ‘sphere of influence’ as I think you can put it. And we are not going to give it up- I won’t bore you with platitudes about ‘owing it to the people’; there are valuable resources there that are worth a great deal of money. Platinum, diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, you name it. Extraction of these resources will be a highly profitable venture and a boon to the reconstruction of Coilerburg. You know this, I know this, the Kirkcaldy government knows this.
However, none of this means it cannot also be in your
sphere of influence. I think after Klavostan’s recent... deal
with the IRT I think you Indhopalis know there is more types of influence than the military kind, yes?”
Duquesne leaned back, considered the situation briefly, and steepled her fingers. “I’ll let you in on a secret, Mr. Christophe. My people have for some time now been negotiating an agreement with the Eastern Occidental government, to associate the region as an overseas department. What that means is that the locals maintain most of their autonomy while the NFT would protect the region in terms of international and intercorporate relations, international trade and such.
Now I could see how that would unsettle Indhopal. And let’s face it- the region will need Indhopal’s goodwill if it wants to truly prosper. So… Let’s see. In exchange for Indhopal not making a fuss, we could agree to take you into the loop vis-à-vis military matters in the region. We’ll increase the tempo of our withdrawal, and you could take over some of the liaison positions that’ll be left vacant. Indhopal is better suited for it anyway. Soon enough we won’t have any troops left there, which’ll save us money and you’ll be able to rest knowing the NFT won’t be launching an invasion of the Western Frontier”, she smiled fleetingly, taking the sting out of the remark.
“And as a final component of the deal… We’re currently building a railroad linking western Coilerburg to Sabika. If we can get Sabika and Omago aboard we can link Coilerburg, Eastern Occidental, Indhopal and possibly Minoy to those two nations. A Trans-Frequesuan Railroad if you like”, she said, referring to the massive Trans-Siberian Express that linked remote areas of the UCSR outback. “A rail link like that would greatly ease the movement of goods, and would thus be good for business. And it would be a profitable venture in its own right, as well as an opportunity for companies from all nations involved to work together. Now wouldn’t that be a nice show of Frequesuan solidarity?”
Chistophe considered the offer before responding.
"In the end this all boils down to trust. Right now the Indhopoli people and its politicians find it very hard to trust anyone these days. For all intents and purposes the NFT is now part of CATO. CATO, which in Indhopal symbolizes the Old Continent and a Colonialist worldview that seeks to use Frequesuean's as cannon fodder against the MESS in their games. By expanding onto Indhopal's border many see that as a threat, even if there are no foreign troops present. Its a provocation which jeopardizes all the work Indhopal and San Dorado have done together over the years.
We've already signed new trade agreements with San Dorado and are continuing our nuclear and other programs as a sign of good faith. The political reality in Indhopal is that President Ahten's government is seen as having given up a lot for San Dorado without San Dorado giving up anything in response. Frankly we are exposing ourselves a hell of lot by continuing the joint nuclear and submarine programs. That could easily be seen by the MESS to mean we are in CATO's pocket. By giving up the Occidental San Dorado would be at least showing the people of Indhopal that we can continue to trust one another.
You also say you intend to use the riches of the Eastern Occidental to help rebuild Coilerburg. That's fine. In the framework of our economic agreement that and much more such as this rail project you propose could continue. In exchange for the influence over one province you would be getting the full economic cooperation and investment of the biggest player in the region.
And to calm any of your own fears and those the citizens of the Occidental might have Indhopal has no intention of lording over those lands as a personal fiefdom. The local leaders would continue to rule, just not in the framework of the NFT. Indhopal's position is we would very much like to see them as a member of our joint economic club but Indhopal, not the NFT would guarantee their security. For them it wouldn't be bad deal at all. The territory under the control of the Yorkshire militias is very much an example of what we wish to accomplish here. Local's controlling their own land with assistance from Indhopal when needed.
Frankly in the end San Dorado has a hell of a lot to lose by alienating Indhopal and a hell of a lot to gain by giving us a little bit back. "