Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Hey China, what are you waiting for?

Hey China, what are you waiting for?

A legitimate question I would say. 

If I was them, I won’t wait for Russia to fail and India to be firmly by the side of United States giving QUAD those long pointed teeth which is keeping Beijing sleepless.

India is an important element in the present geopolitical stage of the world and you don’t need to count the visits of American and European diplomats in the last few weeks to drive home the point. 

The United States can only rule the Unipolar world if Russia and China are neutralized. If Russia was to come second best in the present deadlock, the West would shift its attention to Taiwan and turn it into Ukraine of today. 

Then India, along with Australia, South Korea, Japan and the Atlanticist and Pacificist forces of United States, United Kingdom and France would bait the Chinese dragon in its back waters and it could be without its powerful BRICS allies in Russia and India to wriggle free. 

On the geopolitical chessboard, if India is not taken out from the QUAD equation, a nuclear-armed country with the fifth biggest economy of the world, centuries of subjugation to imperial and colonial forces would continue to rule the seas as they have done for the last four centuries. 

So far, China hasn’t made any move to woo India like the West has done. I know its foreign minister Wang Yi visited New Delhi a month ago but he, quite deliberately, came weighing in on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir at the meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in no less a venue than in Pakistan, stating that he “shared the same aspirations” as the one of Beijing’s “many Islamic friends.”

China’s supremo Xi Jinping too has harped on peaceful cooperation among Asian countries but so far there has been little evidence of walk on the talk. 

All India wants is for China to scale back its massed troops in Ladakh, some 60,000 of them, and to return to pre-Galwan positions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), as well as to facilitate the return of Indian students who have been left high and dry due to Covid-19 saga. 

For good measure, India has been thumping its chest in belligerence in last few days, lest China mistakes India’s present neutrality as a given acquiescence to China-Russia bloc. 

India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh said this month on the soil of United States that anyone who tries to harm India would not be spared.

The Air Chief Marshall VR Chaudhari then said this week that the Indian Air Force (IAF) must prepare itself for intense and short duration operations at a moment’s notice. 

Now today we read in Indian newspapers that India’s army chief MM Naravane, out of the blue, has said that we are “well poised to counter any belligerent actions of the PLA…”

All this begs the question: What makes China so confident that India, for all its grandstanding, could be forced to fall in line if and when Beijing wishes so?

The Leverage of Trade

At the root of most things has always been trade. And the present imbalance of trade between Beijing and New Delhi could be the prime reason for the Chinese dragon to put its feet up and whistle a song on the India Question. 

India’s trade deficit with China was $69.4 billion in 2021, up from $45.9 billion in 2020 and $56.8 billion in 2019. 

This in itself could mean only numbers to innocent readers but when one realises that India’s telecom and electronic products could come unstuck without China’s exports, not to forget the pharmaceutical intermediates, this elephant in the room makes its presence felt in India’s economy. These sectors are critical to India’s growth story, not unlike the Russia oil which has held Europe by the groin. 

As said, the hegemony of West would come unstuck the day Dollar is not the reserve currency of the world. When a multipolar world could do without IMF, World Bank, WTO etc, etc. The reserve digital currency structural framework, which is in works by China and Russia, could be unveiled in the BRICS Summit due in China later this year. 

Whether India is part of this New World Order or it remains stuck in West’s groove depends a great deal on its trust on the China-Russia bloc. The longer the Ukraine crisis drags, the bigger are chances of Vladimir Putin facing restlessness at home. A “coup” in Russia, the Bear without Putin mounting it, has been one of the prime aim of West in stoking the Ukrainian Crisis. 

China could do a host of things as confidence-building measures with the New Delhi. To rely only on trade card amounts to arm-twisting which won’t force a rising India on its knees. It’s up to Beijing if it wants this to be Asia’s Century, where the Eurasian landmass is integrated, or it remains under siege by the sea power of West as it has been for last few centuries.

Choices made today would shape our tomorrow. 

Irrevocably. 

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