China and ‘Old Friend Modi’!

Chinese Foreign Minister Mr. Wang Yi during his visit to India expressed all the nice conciliatory sentiments designed to gladden the hearts of most Indians. He praised China’s ‘old friend Modi’ and hoped for a new chapter in enhanced Indo-Chinese commercial ties. Conventional wisdom persuades most Indians to reciprocate with similar sentiments and embrace China more warmly.

Unconventional wisdom dictates precisely the opposite. Observers of China should know that Beijing is arrogant and peremptory when things go well for it. Witness the bullying Chinese attitude towards Southeast Asian neighbours at this very moment. Only when China feels threatened it starts singing a very different tune. Right now China is uncertain about how India might exercise its leverage.  That is why the soft approach by Beijing. That is why Prime Minister Modi should resolutely continue on New Delhi’s current path, but takes care to keep smiling while he proceeds.

Two developments cause concern for Beijing. First, there is the closer cooperation emerging between America, India and Japan in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. Beijing would like to wean India away from that alliance. Secondly, the internal unrest in Tibet and Xingjian has made Beijing vulnerable. Imagine then the consternation in Beijing after New Delhi invited the Prime Minister of the Provisional Government of Tibet, Mr.  Lobsang Sangay, to Mr. Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in Delhi and was made to sit with other foreign diplomats. It was former Indian diplomat Mr. MK Bhadrakumar’s sharp eye that first pointed out his presence. Mr. Bhadrakumar rightly opined: “Modi took an unprecedented decision that trod on Chinese sensitivities, and it is difficult to believe that he blundered into it.”

Speaking to media, Mr. Wang on the eve of his visit to Delhi said: “China and India, both being victims of terrorism, share common interests and face similar challenges in counter-terrorism and enjoy broad prospects for cooperation in this area.” Not quite, Mr. Wang!

Serious terrorist activity in Xingjian emerged in recent years after Beijing aided and encouraged Islamic terrorism in Southeast Asia and South Asia. Beijing blundered by giving arms to Shiite activists in Iran from where it imported energy. That infuriated Sunni jihadists who retaliated against Chinese personnel in Pakistan. That in turn led the Musharraf regime to crack down on the Lal Mosque Clerics shielding the anti-Chinese terrorists. The rest is history.

The Pakistan Taliban increasingly turned against the Pakistan army and started to activate Uighur terrorism in Xingjian. Therefore it is facile for Mr. Wang to glibly assert that India and China are on the same page insofar as countering terrorism is concerned. For starters China should stop all military aid intended against India to the Pakistan army which has been the chief patron of terrorist outfits inside Pakistan. To puncture Mr. Wang’s remarks about cooperation between China and India to counter terrorism one has only to remind him that it was Beijing which exercised its UN veto to protect Hafiz Saeed from international sanctions recommended against him by the UN.

This is in fact the ideal time for New Delhi to insist upon Beijing to respect all the core interests of India. Beijing must stop giving arms and provide sanctuary to anti-India insurgents, Beijing must stop providing arms to Pakistan that can be used only against India, and Beijing must stop meddling in Indian efforts to create a South Asian Union.

As for enhanced trade and investment by China, this writer takes the isolationist view that apart from suffering short term dislocation, India will only gain by stopping altogether imports from China, by stopping investment from China, and by diverting trade and investment ties to America and Europe. This will boost India’s neglected manufacturing sector of industry and destabilize China which depends critically on its export earnings for keeping afloat its State Owned Enterprises, employing 60 percent of its urban population, through provision of bad loans extended by government owned banks.

During his visit Mr. Wang told media that Beijing was giving stapled visa cards to Indians from Arunachal Pradesh and Kashmir as an “act of kindness” to allow them travel! He should have been reminded that Beijing gave a written undertaking in 2005 that in settling the boundary dispute neither India nor China would disturb settled populations. Despite that Beijing brazenly continues to lay claim to Arunachal Pradesh where the population is happily settled and heavily committed to India. So how will New Delhi respond to the hollow blandishments extended by Beijing? Will China’s “old friend Modi” choose conventional wisdom and reciprocate, or unconventional wisdom and keep smiling while standing firm? Bullet trains are not critical for India’s future. But safeguarding its security, protecting its legitimate sphere of influence, and its independence to act are critical if India is playing its rightful global role.


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

Top | Analysis

Views: 3375      Comments: 5

Comment Uppalji, trade should not be stopped. We should learn from them. Six months back I purchased from Sarojini Nagar Market in New Delhi a Nano toy car. It was made in China! Why nobody in India thought about this? Of course, somebody shared a secret with we when Nano was being launched, that more than two dozen patents were purchased outright by Tatas for the manufacture of the Nano car. Further, when two years back my sister's family went to Europe she learned China's way of doing business. China Government sends delegates to different countries as to what those countries need. Accordingly, the delegations give report to their Government and accordingly China prepares products and sell them to those countries. Can we not learn from them? At the end of the colonial era India and China were at par. Now China is in league with USA, Germany, France, England. We are far behind. We should try to sell them things they need and would like to buy from India. China is a resolute country and know their interests. We should learn these good qualities from them instead of calling them names. The world is highly interdependent. Modi's nature suits Chinese psychology. I believe Modi would be able to achieve things which earlier Congress governments could not.

Sharbaaniranjan Kundu
19-Jun-2014 14:20 PM

Comment The author has rightly pointed out the Dangers of Trusting the Chinese.Late Field Marshal Sam Maneckshaw had always stated that China is India's enemy no one..The Chinese are a untrustworthy,Slimy,greedy & cunning Scoundrels..They keep maintaining that many border Problems with China's neighbours eg Macmohan line on Indo-China border are a Legacy of Colonialism /Imperialism, but What about China's Outrageous & Greedy Claims on South-China sea,East China sea,Spratleys islands etc etc-Surely no Colonial /Imperial power has created Trouble there-It is the Greed & Expansionist behaviour of the Han race..The Modi Govt.MUST be on Guard against the Chinese-Always & Everywhere..Even Trade must be Stopped with the Chinese.

16-Jun-2014 23:50 PM

Comment In short, I have always said " always be cautious of the chinese dragon"
Never trust fully China and what it goes for. China is helping Pakistan against the interest of India. That is sufficient to understand China

pranlal sheth
14-Jun-2014 01:55 AM

Comment I still hold the prediction made an year back - that China would repent its decision to support Modi as PM.

Chinese strategists and think tank judged that only a democratic revolution in India would pose a serious challenge to China.
(Because the UPA leadership suited the most to Chinese interests, and UPA leadership was seen as the leadership to continue in future as well).

Now that Mr. Modi has become the PM with his party having absolute majority in Loksabha, which amounts to democratic revolution in India and that Mr. Modi is no more behaving the way he made Chinese believed in past, it must be causing alarm bells among China think tanks, so Mr. Wang came all the way and here and posed 'smiling' New Delhi.

Dnesh Kumar Bohre
11-Jun-2014 02:21 AM

Comment PM Mr.Modi is far more intelligent and wise than people might assume.
Didn`t he make Nancy Powell, former US Ambassador wait for 2 months and make her to travel to Gujrat for an audience with him?
He has good memory and knows diplomacy well.
PM Mr.Modi will definitely"keep smiling while standing firm".
To him mother India and its people come first. He will always take decisions in the best interest of India.
Bande Mataram.

Buddha D.Rudra
10-Jun-2014 22:42 PM

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