View: India Must Rethink While Dealing With China

By Brigadier Arun Bajpai

  • China is just not allowing India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, despite all efforts of other major powers and very recently it has once again vetoed the proposal forwarded by France, UK and America to declare terrorist Masood Azhar as Global Terrorist in UN Security Council. This is the fourth time China has done it since 2009 .
  • Simply proving the point that China, a single party Government with totalitarian tendencies is having no morality or qualms that it will be seen siding with terror. What matters to China is its ambition. Time India must rethink its policy towards China and not wait for the day when china may get some good sense because that day will never come.
  • There is a bit of shock and surprise in India that once again China has ignored every other major country and has continued to support Pakistan, the global fountain head of terror, in not allowing Pakistani sponsored and pampered Jihadi, Masood Azhar, whose jihadi organisation jaish Mohammad is already proscribed by UNSC in October 2001, a Global Terrorist. But then in sanity we should not have been surprised because China is a totalitarian state which has put millions of its own Muslim citizens from its Xinxiang province in re-education camps which are basically detention camps.
  • These Muslim Chinese citizens, about one crore plus in numbers, are wanting Azadi from China hence these detention camps where they are denied basic amenities. They are not even allowed to read even holy Quran. However, all this is acceptable to Islamic Republic of Pakistan and 50 odd Organisation of Islamic countries of the world, because nobody wants to annoy China a military and economic power.
  • We must understand that China gives two hoots to terrorists killing other countries innocent people, which make other countries specially the democratic ones, make grey and black choices in their international relations. No such qualms or morality exist with China. So, in the case of China always expect the worst if you are pragmatic. India must understand this aspect now before befriending China or holding summits like Wuhan. For China its own interests come first and foremost.
  • At times we are not able to understand what binds China, an atheist country with a highly radicalised religion oriented Muslim Country like Pakistan? Truth is that Beijing -Islamabad bet is bigger than we think. China interests in Pakistan are not just protecting their 47-billion-dollar investment in CPEC being built in Pakistan, it goes much beyond this.
  • Pakistan after having got a kick from America is increasingly dependent on China in operational military platforms in all three dimensions of land, sea and air. In many cases Pakistan is now first customer of China in military other words in making Pakistan feel good, suits China because it is a move towards fulfilling Chinese ambition of becoming a leading manufacturer and exporter of arms in the world. Already it is exporting arms worth 5 billion dollars to Afro-Asian countries. So, for China branding Masood Azhar as Global Terrorist is a high cost option with no equal returns.
  • Besides for China it is said that all its policies are long term and it does not change its policies at drop of a hat. Way back in sixties it decided to use Pakistan as a countervailing country to thwart Indian Growth. It is for this purpose it gave nuclear technology to Pakistan and tested its first nuclear bomb at its facility in Lop Nor. It is already now on the way to make Pakistan its colony after having invested almost 60 billion dollars in CPEC and other projects in Pakistan. In other words, the China-Pakistan nexus is too deep and none of these countries will become India’s friends ever. It is unfortunate that on West, North and portion of our Eastern border we have these two nuclear powers as our enemies but then as they say we can not choose our neighbours so we have to live with this and select the best way forward.
  • After this recent perfidy of China, there has been lot of hue and cry in social media that we should boycott Chinese goods. Well this is good Utopian idea but not possible to be implemented. For this we must have a look at the recent Parliamentary Committee on Commerce of July 2018 report. They have done a good job of putting together data and findings of how deeply Chinese imports, most of them cheap and of poor quality, are altering Indian industrial landscape. This House Panel is concerned that these imports are finishing small and medium manufacturers which is further leading to unemployment.
  • These cheap Chinese goods keep the prices down. If we start massive trade action against China it will lead to nasty price rise and supply disruption. The Modi Government knows it that is why they are quiet, are only working to reduce trade imbalance which is almost 50 billion dollars. China is a big player in some of the Indian success stories like Telecom and Pharma. In telecom China is highly competitive in infrastructure goods and in pharma base ingredients come from China. In other words, if India tweaks this trade issue certain Indian products doing so well abroad are bound to go costly.
  • In India we must understand that China is against India and will remain so in context of Pakistan. It will never allow India to let down Pakistan come what may. This background was established in 1963 when Pakistan gifted to China 5000 sq. km long Shaksgam Valley in POK. Truth is that after 1962 defeat in the hands of China we have somehow been always diffident to China, afraid to confront it. China has been exploiting this psychological weakness of ours till now. It is not that we do not have any options against China but truth is that till now we have been afraid to excise them lest China gets annoyed.
  • We will have to change this mindset of ours. One short term option that we have is that we should join West in distrusting Chinese Telecom Giant Huawei which West has accused of industrial espionage while we in India are allowing it to supply 5G telecom equipment. Currently banned from Western Market, Huawei is coveting Indian Market. We may allow it under condition that China stops its resistance to Masood Azhar being declared a global terrorist.
  • The second short term option is to start getting closure to Taiwan which China considers as its own province. Of course, china will react but then we should be prepared of this turbulence making it clear to China that if China sides with Pakistan it can not stop us from siding with Taiwan. But for this we will have to make our military strong. No more this sab chalta hai attitude towards our military.
  • In the final analysis no amount of our kootneeti or Rajneeti will work against the combined threat of China and Pakistan. We have no option but to strengthen our military base and produce our own weapons under Make in India in Defence banner. our Armed Forces should be strong enough to deter Pakistan or China or both to get involved in any misadventure against us. At the same time, we must keep on improving our economic performance recreating a strong manufacturing base. However, all this will require a focused policy having long term perspective. Governments may come and go but our policies should not change. We should at least now shed this illusion once for all that China or Pakistan will ever be our friends.    

Jai Hind