Can Communist China be a friend of Democratic India?

Image source: PTI

Communist China neither be friend of Democratic India nor any other democratic nations, to say the least in its neighbourhood and elsewhere in the world as the compatibility of governance philosophy matters. This is crystal clear! If there is anybody who still thinks the ‘communist China’ could be, he is certainly living in a fool’s paradise. In India, there are one set of people (thinkers, politicians and intellectuals) who still suggest India to forget Aksai Chin and other area occupied by China in 1962 war and gifted to it by Pakistan from its occupied India’s J&K territory in 1963 where no grass grows. They say with a logic that both China and India together have tremendous potential to lead their population and the world’s most populous Asian region surrounding them to a new height in economic development and prosperity. They are right when they say about regional development and prosperity. But they are absolutely wrong when they say India should accept Chinese sovereignty over barren Himalaya.

If no grass grows on Himalayan stony terrain, has it not been growing for only PM Nehru in early 1960s and for his followers now, but grows for China all these years? Or China has got technology that India does not have to grow grass on the Himalayas? A billion-dollar question without any answer! Further, if India’s present generation does not have the technology now that China has, India future generation/s could get the technology subsequently. And therefore who has given authority to present generation of India to sacrifice the right of its future generation/s. Again, another billion-dollar question! In the meanwhile, Prof. Makarand R Paranjape, Director of Shimla based Indian Institute of Advanced Study claims China has stealthily occupied 680 Sq KM of Indian Territory in the Himalayas during 2004-14 UPA rule.

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Why China is so hungry for ice barren land?

A visit to Asian continental history tells China did not have a land border with India. It occupied Tibet, evicted its ruler and has been ruling the nation with brutal terror typical of dragon reign. And next to that, China eyes other nations and their territories in the south of Tibet in the pretext of that once upon a time in history they were part of Tibet. A stupid argument, but new normal for China and its sympathizers in India! Whatever even ever these areas were part of Tibet, they were not part of China.

China is an occupying force in Tibet. How could an occupying force claim sovereignty on what was once present loser’s territory but independent or merged with other nation now? Can a presumed occupier of Japan claim sovereignty over China because China was occupied by Japan once upon a time in history? In recent past, Nepalese newspapers claim about Chinese encroachment of some Nepal territories with which China too did not have territorial link prior to its Tibet’s occupation. But, unfortunately, Nepal leadership is silent as it is at present busy in typical sub-continental chair-grabbing politics ignoring national interest.

Apart from the above, China fought a bloody war, known as the Third Indochina War, with tiny Vietnam in its Southern border in 1979 but rebuffed with equal vigour. Now, it is involved in Myanmar’s internal conflicts by arming its various rebels groups. Soon after China’s present President Xi Jinping took reign of the nation, it built artificial isles in the South China Sea and later claimed sovereignty over vast resource-rich sea, which is one of the world’s busiest shipping route, completely disobeying time-tested International Maritime Law and several littoral nations claims.

From the above discussed, it has been clear that China runs an ambition of expansion of its territorial footprint beyond its present geography which includes the forceful occupation of Tibet and Xinjiang. And it is surrounded by mostly democratic nations. Among these nations, India is the largest and stable democracy with not only large geography but also large population, the huge defence set up, the third-largest economy in PPP, and market which is growing fast close to China. Naturally, Indian democracy poses a threat to autocratic and oppressive Communist China which now has a ruler who in recent past has got constitutional approval for a life-long ruling.

Now, huge trust deficit mostly due to Chinese behaviour with its neighbours as narrated above rules the geopolitics in the region. Last month’s Galwan Valley unprofessional fight, in which India lost its 20 disciplined brave soldiers in uniforms along with a Commanding Officer and China lost some of its soldiers, the number Chinese authority has not disclosed so far for reason best known to them, galvanized the trust deficit further. This fight was followed by high-level military and diplomatic talks in which India’s External Affairs Minister in clear-term told ‘The death of 20 unarmed disciplined brave soldiers will certainly taint bilateral relation in days to come’ and the same was followed by the imposition of ban on China-based/linked FDI, tenders and Apps, and after many developed nations’ including France, Japan, UK and the US show of solidarity with India, China have started withdrawing its forces from conflict zones. But whether this forced changes of behaviour on the part of China is permanent or temporary or China has got strategic withdrawal, is very difficult to predict going by the secretive character of China’s Communist politics.

Image source: Reuters

No doubt, China has a far better force with advance war-gears compare to India. Apart from this, China got in Pakistan, India’s born enemy, an all-weather friend. Now, Islamic terror infected bankrupt Pakistan, a pariah in world politics, is ready to do whatever be asked to it by huge foreign exchange reserve rich China for money. Already China has invested $40 billion in so-called CPEC as part of Belt and Road Initiative, a virtual debt trap many nations in Asia and Africa have started to escape from. And Nepal’s China supported the Communist government has opened another front manufacturing a territorial claim. Nepal and India have a long open border which has been a paradise for entry of Pakistan exported no-state players for terror attacks in India. Besides, in the crucial past when Indian politicians were busy in winning elections, building/retaining political dynasties and occupying governance chairs come what way, China went on building strategic infrastructures around India in Indian Ocean littoral countries literally indebting them. During that long period, near about a decade, India’s Defence sector was one of the most neglected ones a la the decades following independence. And India has its own set of internal elements who’ll not hesitate to join enemies like they did in the past in the pretext of democratic freedom of expression. In view of the above, a two/(three) fronts war with India cannot be ruled out if the Chinese present retreat is strategic.

To overcome the presumed future threat to India, there is urgent need of building alliance with nations, mostly democratic nations, which have already shown their willingness and has been sympathetic to India’s cause post-Galwan fight. Chinese origin COVID19 can be used as a blessing in disguise. There cannot have a better time to build India centric Asian geopolitics than this. How to present the government is accomplishing this is about to see. At the same time, it is appealed that no reader of the column ever carries an impression that the arguments placed here are in anyway anti-China people at large. Sorry, no gang up! However, whatever are proposed are against Communist Dragon brutality and its policies of early 20th-century expansionism in defence of democracy and peace in the world’s most populous geography.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

Bimal Prasad Mohapatra

Bimal Prasad Mohapatra Assistant Professor at Trident Academy of Technology, Orissa

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