India, China and Japan

Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan has been hailed as a success beyond expectation. He has in a sense accomplished what has been consistently advocated in these columns. He has exploited India’s enormous leverage that remained untapped till today. China and to a lesser extent Japan have huge reserve funds looking for profitable investment. Thanks to India’s propensity to spend less than is earned its economy is based on domestic savings with a consumer class having ability to spend. India provides a vast potential market and both China and Japan are looking for such a market. Not surprisingly therefore Mr. Modi returns from Japan after pocketing spectacular economic benefits. But beyond economics there are strategic aspects that need attention.

China and Japan have a history of traditional rivalry worsened by territorial and oceanic disputes between them. India has no such dispute with Japan. It does have a longstanding territorial dispute with China. It is therefore tempting to conclude that the emerging Indo-Japanese strategic alliance should be used to put China in its place. That is where this writer has a question. Which place? As a longstanding critic of Beijing’s expansionist, hegemonic and subversive policies he has consistently proposed measures to contain China. But wise policy lies in achieving containment without alienation. And foreign policy should be dictated by its end goal. What should be India’s eventual strategic vision?

This nation has always been a champion of international peace and harmony even though policies pursued by successive governments have in no significant way helped achieve that goal. What kind of world should India seek? Obviously it must be a world of peace and harmony, governed by liberal regimes and with nations engaged in healthy and peaceful competition. To create such a world India as a multi-religious, multi-lingual, democratic, third word nation is uniquely placed to play the most significant role. It can do that by becoming a peace maker in disputes between all nations. As a start it must of course defuse its own disputes with other nations. But that distant role should always be kept in mind when formulating policy.

That is why while welcoming Mr. Modi’s strategic success in Japan this writer is not entirely happy with his diplomatic performance. His rapport with his hosts would not have lessened had he refrained from making publicly adverse allusions to China. This might unnecessarily antagonize China. Beijing would justifiably consider this to be a stab in the back. For a decade Beijing wooed and helped Mr. Modi while the west shunned him. It helped achieve his political success. Now to be humiliated in this manner in a rival nation imparts loss of face about which the Chinese are extraordinarily sensitive. Were Mr. Modi’s allusions necessary? A reasonable formula is available to resolve Sino-Indian differences. To persuade Beijing to accept it would require diplomatic finesse. Mr. Modi’s remarks also damage India’s potential to mediate between Tokyo and Beijing.


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

Top | Analysis

Views: 3362      Comments: 3

Comment National security needs to be the first priority. Having Japan as a ally might strengthen us.
As for the Chinese loss of face- that should not matter to us. Do the Chinese exercise discretion to refrain from objecting when the Indian Prime Minister visits Arunachal Pradesh?
Did they care when when their Defence Minister gave Rs One Lakh to IAF pilots? He was definitely not naiive!

07-Sep-2014 08:40 AM

Comment Mr.Puri`s insight and in depth analysis makes it quite interesting to read his articles.
But I don`t understand where Mr.Puri got the idea that China helped Mr.Modi ?
Throw food and dogs will come. Open the market and investors will jump in.
Chinese didn`t help Mr,Modi, they needed the free market.
Also, anyone who follows the cunning policies of Chinese leaders is well aware of double-faced policies of China from the time immemorial.
The Chinese talked about "Panch Sil" and fooled Nehru. Next you know it was the Chinese almost took over the whole north-east.
Even now, Chinese leaders talk about "peace and friendship" and keep sending Chinese army to Arunachal Pradesh.
To top it off--without the Chinese support Pakistan will not be terrorizing India.
I am glad that finally someone like Mr.Modi shows the guts to play the game of tit for tat.
In conclusion, I will say, I totally disagree with Mr.Puri`s analysis.

Buddha D.Rudra
05-Sep-2014 22:19 PM

Comment China will not look through Modi's eyes. China will certainly look where its shoe pinches. China is dragon wanting to expand. Modi has to curtail this expansionism through the help of like minded nations, such as Japan and USA.
This should his role when he goes to USA this month. Remember India
helped Chang Ki Shek. See what happened. India can find platform for this purpose in BRICS nations and UN to curb the expansionism of China. Narendra Modi is going to UN when he is going to USA at the invitation of Barak Obama.
It will be his double barrel diplomacy to curb the dragon without firing a bullet.

pranlal sheth
05-Sep-2014 15:54 PM

Name *

Email ID

Comment *
Verification Code*

Can't read? Reload

Please fill the above code for verification.