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Dealing with Xi’s China
|by Dr. Rajinder Puri|
This month, barring unexpected developments, Mr. Xi Jinping will be appointed as the General Secretary of China’s Communist Party. That will make him the most powerful man in China. In March 2013 he will then be crowned as China’s President. How will his elevation affect India? That will largely depend on how it affects China. The signs are hopeful. Readers might recall that earlier some positive developments related to Mr. Xi’s likely ascension to China’s Presidency had been noted.
First, China’s economy is going through transition. Beijing is being compelled to change its low-wage, export driven economy due to shrinking exports caused by the global meltdown. At the same time in spite of censorship the Internet has created a more aware and questioning citizenry. This has compelled Beijing to re-order economic priorities leading to an expanding domestic market that makes up for the loss of exports earnings. All this inevitably is pushing China towards a more equitable and liberal society.
Right now India is receiving very mixed signals from Beijing. On the one hand there is aggressive posturing and bullying by the PLA on the Sino-Indian border. On the other hand the Governor of Xingjian is being allowed by Beijing to approach India for investment and trade. The danger in dictatorships is always that during a change of guard one side or the other instigates a foreign adventure to tilt domestic opinion in its favour. Analysts have noted how China has suddenly started to flex it muscles with all neighbours including Japan and Vietnam. Between now and March 2013 India must remain on guard to ensure it does not become the military victim of a power struggle within China. Assuming that Mr. Xi’s elevation proceeds smoothly India needs to prepare its strategy for possible negotiations with his government. What might be New Delhi’s agenda for any meaningful peace talks with Beijing?
This can be rephrased in blunt and undiplomatic language.
China must recognize and acknowledge India’s sphere of influence just as it jealously protects its own. Both Han and Hindu civilizations provide the handful of source cultures to humanity. And after the world has moved from fiefdoms and kingdoms to states and republics, globalization will now compel it to establish regional groupings based upon cultural nationalism. The European Union is a faltering fore-runner. This will provide the template for a new federal world order. Cultural nationalism may sound politically incorrect and ring alarm bells among smaller neighbouring nations. But this is the bald truth. And let it be noted that genuine federalism does not imply greater power for bigger units. It might be recalled that when BP Koirala stood firm on Nepal’s rights while negotiating with Mao, the latter was exasperatedly provoked to exclaim, “The tyranny of you small nations!”
The present impotent UPA government is incapable of adopting it. But this government will not remain in power forever.
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10/20/2012 06:37 AM
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