By Akshay Ranade:
It’s always a task to understand and analyse the aspects which characterize India-China relationship. It’s so fraught with complexities, as it always has been, that to deduce the implications of China’s stand on us confronts us with a challenge. Yet history always maintained for us the crucial lesson which we cannot afford to ignore. Should we not pay heed to these staring implications of China’s advances on our boundaries we are bound to pay a high price for it! This is a short attempt to understand China’s possible moves on the background of China pledging its full support for Pakistan’s ‘sovereignty’ at this crucial juncture.
China’s public security minister Meng Jianzu concluded his meeting with the Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani while categorically extending his full support to Pakistan’s ‘sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity’. China’s diplomatic stances over their friendship with Pakistan are not totally new, however what’s curious is the timing of this emphatic claim. It’s sends straight signals of caution in the US camp as Pakistan already threatened US to stop blaming them or else it may cost US their ally (Pakistan). It’s intelligible, should US feel a pinch of pressure over this as China appears to swiftly extend its control with such diplomatic weapons. Gilani added further, “a friend of China is Pakistan’s friend, its enemy is Pakistan’s enemy and China’s security is Pakistan’s security”, which intensifies the concern. Yet what is concerning is how should India view this ‘extension of friendship bond’ between China and Pakistan.
China’s support to Pakistan should not surprise one beyond a limit. In his visit to Pakistan in December last year premier Wen Jiabao while speaking in Pakistan’s parliament described the relationship between two with phrase “brothers forever”. He went on to note that “China-Pakistan friendship is full of vigour and vitality, like a lush tree, with deep roots and thick foliage.” And he added that “China-Pakistan relationship is strong and solid, like a rock standing firm despite the pressure of time.” China’s support to Pakistan has been evident in various aspects ranging from their support to Pakistan in development of defence arsenals, help in maintaining infrastructure in PoK to financial aid advanced to them. There are several factors which contribute to this China-Pakistan relationship. China understands quite well the essential role Pakistan plays to rein in Muslim separatists operating in China-Pakistan border in the Uygur region. However, what is more pressing is the adversarial ties which India maintains with Pakistan also play a key role in this bond between the Chinese and Pakistan. India stands as a major power in Asia as against the China, a fact very well understood by China. Though we may not match with the Chinese might, but underestimating India would be a fools ‘pawn-push’. China therefore eyes every possible move that would strengthen their hold. And this claim of their support to Pakistan’s ‘sovereignty’ sends straight signals to us as well, something which we cannot afford to ignore.
China’s assertiveness in claiming its territories was again evident in the recent event wherein China warned India against going ahead with collaboration with Vietnam for oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea. It so happens that India already has an agreement with Vietnam for oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea and ‘ideally’ China has no ground in cautioning India against it. Yet the audacity is prominent. It once again calls for the introspection the kind of India-China relationship is culminating into. Despite of these advices from Chinese, India decides to go on with the exploration however the crucial point is how China would react to it once India actually goes into work considering the fact that China’s stand regarding this area particularly (the South China Sea) has been quite aggressive ever since. Certainly the move wouldn’t please Chinese and suspicions may spark in among Chinese that Indians are going ahead with US’s backing. That would not help the situation at all. India can hope little from the countries around the South China Sea should they choose to remain silent over the issue. It is therefore imperative to understand every stance that China takes and analyse its implications.
The way Chinese have kept the Tibet issue burning, the way they incrementally advanced to our borders and triggered a dispute there which is far from getting settled, we face a continuous threat around us. And India’s dynamic stance over Tibet issue has been quite concerning. The natural buffer which Tibet provided to our north-eastern borders now stares us with a threat. Since there are no decided boundaries there is always a scope for misdeeds. History reminds us that China has always resorted to use of its military might to seek the geopolitical aims. Though it’s unlikely that China would exercise that option. And so these diplomatic weapons alarm us a great deal. It’s therefore imperative not to take any of the steps of this belligerent nation lightly as the cost can be higher than we can imagine. As the saying explains “when dangers is imminent loud and clear, our voice must be insistent loud and clear”.
The writer is a student ofÂ B Sc- Economics, SY fromÂ Symbiosis School of Economics, Pune.