Was Chinese Ambassador Echoing the Thoughts of Some Indian Politiciansby Opinion Express June 20, 2018 0 comments
Was the statement by the Chinese ambassador to India a trial balloon? Why was it clarified? Are the Chinese serious?
His Excellency Luo Zhaohui, China’s ambassador to India, has done the job he was asked to in an excellent fashion. The disingenuity of his purportedly informal, off-the-cuff remarks suggesting closer India-China-Pakistan trilateral cooperation — and if you believe that you will believe anything — made on Monday is neither here nor there. That’s his job, after all. But the way he let drop that this suggestion came from “some Indian friends” was superbly done. Because Beijing knows that unlike on its side of the McMohan Line where an absolutist state rules, on this democratic side there is no unanimity among the Indian political establishment and strategic community on what constitutes our national interest. Indeed, even its definition is contested domestically by the usual suspects. Given the disarray in our domestic discourse on issues of national security, strategic interests and relationships with other nations, especially those like China to which there is a clear adversarial edge, in a sense it is good that Beijing is fishing in troubled waters, as it were. At least it will, or ought to, focus our mind. The first step the Indian establishment needs to take is to stop forthwith the continuous running down of the Indo-US alliance. Yes, Donald Trump is not everybody’s cup of tea aesthetically and yes, there are changes occurring in the geopolitical sphere as Washington rolls out some rather protectionist policies that are impacting world trade. But he’s doing what he does best, which is putting America First. New Delhi would be well advised to roll with it while according its own interests primacy. So, of course, we must negotiate hard on the trade front, on technology transfer, on tariffs and even on H1B visas if that is productive. But the bottom line has to be upping the strategic partnership between the two nations to the next level, along with doing the same vis-à-vis our European Union strategic partner, France. Additionally, the Japan-US-Australia-India quadrilateral cannot continue to be treated in the episodic manner that New Delhi has been over the past decade. Ditto, India’s engagement with ASEAN and Pacific Rim/Indian Ocean maritime strategy. Our relationship with Russia must be kept in play, of course, and it has its uses for both sides. But we have reached a turn in geopolitics where the relationship has transformed from an all-weather strategic one to a more transactional bilateral one given Moscow’s changed strategic interests with the rise of China and the emerging Sino-Russian alliance against the US/West. Similarly, India’s engagement with Iran and the Sunni West Asian nations while useful to take the edge off Pakistan’s Islamist narrative is a limited-outcome endeavour in strategic terms. What New Delhi needs to focus on urgently is a combination of the above-mentioned relationship building matrix of which close ties with the US have to realistically be the bedrock. For, even given the changing global power dynamics, the US is still the only superpower in town and Trump seems determined to keep his country’s power trajectory going north. Our clear and present concerns both in terms of security and economic issues is China and its client state of Pakistan. Beijing’s undisguised ambition to be recognised as the regional hegemon and then scale up to becoming a world power which rivals the US in reach and heft means that India will always been seen by it a lesser or unequal partner in that effort. The suggested triangulation of the India-China-Pakistan relationship should be seen for what it is — more a strangulation of India. We must assiduously ignore the voices which urge us into a Chinese embrace.
Courtesy: The Pioneer