[dropcap]C[/dropcap]hina directed that India is using the fight against terror for political gains in what appears to be a reference to New Delhi’s high-profile Pakistan-centric anti-terrorism campaign. Without naming either India or Pakistan, vice-foreign minister Li Baodong said that no country should have double standards on terrorism or use it for political gains. China never trusted India and always shielded Pakistan and poked its nose in South Asian countries affairs. Their comments come at a time, when it is getting suspicious about our friendship with the United States, closeness to Japan, and naval cooperation in the East and South China Seas with these countries. It is India that has room for grave suspicion about China’s closeness to Pakistan. India cannot afford to overlook this as long as this unholy nexus continues, while shaping its policy towards China. Eternal vigilance over the activities of these two friends should be from our side on the borders.
If there is a second reprobate state in the Far East, it is China. It claims all the South China Sea to itself. It is creating artificial islands and is militarizing them. It has disputes with all its neighbours including Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Philippines due to its greedy territorial claims. It is claiming fishing rights on Indonesian waters thousands of kilometres away whereas Indian fishermen are taken prisoners by Sri Lankan Navy every day on the pretext that they have crossed the MBL by a few hundred metres. Now, it has blocked notification on notorious terrorist Masood Azhar.
India should not forget its 1962 war because history has the notoriety of repeating itself. We cannot ignore China’s friendship with Pakistan, give nukes for test detonation, fighter jets, CPEC crossing PoK and many more to provoke India. India did well by allying with USA. In future, USA may move for manufacturing goods from China to India. Chinese biggest threat is India, which has millions of cheap labour which could replace Chinese manufacturing capability in future.
Every sovereign country pursues its national interest and India is emerging as a great power in the world. It is the brightest spot in beleaguered world economy now. It is not like Nepal which is dependent on other countries. Both India and China are having a mutually beneficial relationship – which has a potential for further strengthening – and stand their own grounds. With recalibration of the policy towards further cementing of the bilateral relations and dispelling the misgivings from both sides, China can come around to accept India’s claim for NSG. China cannot treat itself as a super power. With the backing of US and other majority of member countries in NSG, membership is within reach of India especially when India has already got a onetime waiver from NSG for its nuclear deal with US in 2005.
As a nation, we must internalise such an approach. This does not call for being blindly venturesome, courting risk and conflict with China, but more boldness and deftness in safeguarding the Indian interest through well-thought-out and nuanced steps to build even closer relations with like-minded democracies like the United States and Japan, while consolidating internal strength and resilience. Steps to further enhance strategic and defence cooperation with these countries, as also fulfilling the promise and potential of the India-US civilian nuclear cooperation agreement in an expeditious manner, should be a part of this process. At the same time, existing dialogue mechanisms and trade and economic linkages with China should continue to be maintained at an even pace.
After amid tension between India and Pakistan, where former is insisting on action against later supplier of terrorists, Chinese mercilessly stalling NSG membership for India and avoiding banning global terrorist Masood Azhar just because we are supporting Dalai Lama is not good. Dalai Lama fled his country due to the oppressive Chinese rule in Tibet. He has not been politically or militarily active from India, whereas Masood Azhar, a terrorist is working from the Pakistan to kill innocent people. China shouldn’t be lecturing others on adhering to international law or pursuing political gains in the name of counter-terrorism.
Given the residual bitterness of the past, this is the default option. There are already manifestations of this in the public space. The Prime Minister speaks of multi-alignment, of dexterity in transacting foreign relations. During Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi times, Indo-China relations were revived and developed despite the border dispute and conflicts, because India pursued a pragmatic policy of Non-Alignment — diplomatically as well as militarily. However, Modi government, the “golden boy” of Western powers (Global Times China) has decidedly turned West-Aligned/US’s “major defence partner”. Our effort to become a member of the NSG may not have been immediately successful. However, it has certainly exposed China as having few friends in the world and without a single other nation in the NSG group of 48 on its side. Within days of the Seoul meet, the Chief negotiator of China has been replaced while the US has warned that a single country cannot prevent consensus. However, our ‘experts’ and media behave as it was our failure. Let us not forget that more than 100 countries voted against India at the UN General Assembly in 1971 while only six supported our position on Bangladesh. That did not deter Indira Gandhi in the least. Fear of failure cannot be the basis of our foreign policy. Sooner or later, full membership in the NSG is inevitable.
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