Xi’s re-election spell trouble for India, world
The National Congress of the Communist Party of China last week re-elected Xi Jinping to lead the country for at least the next five years. The Congress reiterated that after Mao, Xi was the most powerful leader in China’s modern history, even though Xi may like to believe otherwise.
Xi’s vision of China is one that is expansionist, and will not shy away from using military power to make territorial gains. “We have developed well-conceived and complete strategic plans for advancing the cause of the Party and the country in the new era. We have put forward the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and proposed promoting national rejuvenation through a Chinese path to modernisation. We have made well-coordinated efforts to advance our great struggle, our great project, our great cause, and our great dream,” said Xi in his opening speech to the Congress.
What he hinted was using force to, if need be, reclaim territories, that China considers its own. The model for governance in these reclaimed lands would be what it has been evangelising for nearly two decades, One Nation Two systems” (ONTS). The exhibits of the success of ONTS are Hong Kong and Macao, according to China.
To an external observer what this system has achieved is, provided a highly centralised governance model in place in these two regions with the remote control being operated by the mainland government and local autonomy achieved through China-appointed “patriots” in key government positions. Xi warned during the same speech: “We will crack down hard on anti-China elements who attempt to create chaos in Hong Kong and Macao.”
The next step for ONTS is resolving the Taiwan issue which emerged as a key commitment from the Congress meeting and Xi’s re-election. It was amply made clear that China would not shy away from the use of force, if need be, to achieve its stated target of complete reunification and integration of Taiwan with the Mainland. This is the scenario many China watchers had been pointing out in the run-up to President Xi Jinping’s third term.
The parallels they drew are with Russian President Vladimir Putin who has been at the helm of affairs in another globally powerful region for nearly a decade now. Putin, to stay at the helm of affairs, rekindled the nationalist nerve and vowed on the great Russian past, thereby claiming historical ownership over Crimea and now Ukraine. The world is now aware of what havoc a leader elected through undemocratic processes can bring. Millions of people in Europe are looking at a hard cold winter, while many developing countries across Asia and Africa are staring at starving citizens, all due to high energy and food prices. Now China’s stated policy to use force for reunification of Taiwan opens up another war front.
This theatre of war would be closer to India and much of South and Southeast Asia, which is home to nearly one-fourth of the world population. This conflict zone, if it blows into a full-fledged war, could be the ground for the Third World War where Western powers would face off against China and Russia.
India would have to take a stance, on whether it wants to maintain its agile multilateralism, i.e., pick and choose and align with global powers on commonalities or go in with one bloc. At this point in time given Sino-Indian relations at historical lows, over the military clashes in India’s north-western regions and China’s historical claims over Arunachal Pradesh, chances are bleak that India will partner with the Russian-Chinese bloc. Meanwhile, India has to engage more deeply with its Western allies and secure their trust in key strategic areas.
(The author is a foreign affairs commentator, this article is courtesy of The Pioneer)