This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Ganesh Puthur. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Can The Modi Govt Walk the Talk When It Comes To China?

More from Ganesh Puthur

It is quite evident that India’s political narrative is undergoing a paradigm shift with the title of antagonist changing from Pakistan to China. Since the formation of the Indian union, Pakistan was always seen as a belligerent neighbour and played a significant role in galvanising modern Indian nationalism. This even though Pakistan lost all four wars which they fought against India, and have been said to try and destabilise India using non-state actors, supposedly with the blessings of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Throughout these years, India’s political parties, while using Pakistan to accumulate their political capital, remained mute on China since they were aware of the fact that unlike Pakistan, China was never an ‘easy’ target.

The failure of India’s political elite to understand the expansionist Chinese policies resulted in India’s humiliating defeat in the 1962 war. It took years for India to realise that China was slowly occupying its territory in Aksai-Chin and it was too late when the nation finally responded.

Even after the war, New Delhi was never really keen on protecting its territory, leaving a vacuum in the region enabling China to occupy more areas slowly and enhance their border infrastructure.

Even the State government of Jammu and Kashmir didn’t consider it necessary to protect Ladakh from Chinese aggression. The trend continued without much resistance from the Indian side. In 2013, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) crossed the Line of Actual Control and occupied 640 Sq. Km area of Indian territory in Ladakh. Even though this was a blatant attack on India’s territorial integrity, the then government was not serious enough to escalate this matter.

Post-2014, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government fast-tracked the construction of border roads and enhanced the infrastructure along the Chinese boundary. This move rattled China to a greater extent, thus raising objections to various road construction activities inside the Indian territory.

The Indian government was keen on improving trade relations with China. PM Modi and Chinese premier Xi Jinping met 18 times in 6 years including the informal summits at Wuhan and Mahabalipuram. In 2017, China’s attempt to construct a road in Doklam was resisted by Indian army resulting in a standoff between both the forces. China has deep strategic and financial interests in Pakistan and uses the latter to create internal troubles in India.

The current Communist regime in China is said to have been pumping millions of dollars to the kitty of India’s immediate neighbours in the form of loans and investments. Even India’s all-weather ally Nepal turning its table against India is interpreted as China’s strategy of isolating India. China’s doctrine of the ‘String of Pearls’ has been instrumental in encircling India in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Now the question is, even after knowing that China is seemingly hostile to our interests, did the government of India act smarter enough to ‘bell the dragon’?

In 2014 during the swearing-in of the Modi-led NDA government, PM Modi had invited the heads of all SAARC nations to attend the ceremony. But the new government couldn’t maintain the momentum it had. The terror issues with Pakistan, the Madeshi blockade in Nepal, India’s exclusion from the Afghan peace talks and rapid Chinese investments in SAARC nations, Indian diplomatic missions had too many problems to handle.

For a short period, India tried to project BIMSTEC as an alternative to SAARC, but that couldn’t be a masterstroke. India is also worried about other issues concerning its immediate neighbourhood. Sri Lanka has fallen into China’s debt trap, the Chinese government is building a submarine base in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazaar region and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is part of Xi’s ambitious Belt Road Initiative (BRI) is passing through Gilgit-Baltistan( which India claims as its territory).

modi and xi jinping shaking hands at the BRICS meeting in 2017.
PM Modi with Presicdent of the Republic of China, Xi Jinping.

India is still heavily dependent on Chinese imports, ranging from electronics to pharmaceutical materials, and has a trade deficit of $48.9 billion with China. Following the outbreak of COVID-19 hundreds of international companies decided to quit China. But global news agencies claimed that many of them would shift their bases to Vietnam and other South-East Asian nations while only few would opt for India. It raises severe questions on the much-hyped ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Union government. If the Modi government wants to take China head-on, then there is no way other than becoming an economic superpower which requires massive reform in the financial sector.

To become a real competitor to China, India has to be more assertive. As the 5th century, BC Chinese strategist Sun Tzu in his book Art of War said, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” With its $14 billion economy and global dominance, China has a psychological advantage over India. Here, Indian brains have to derive a strategy to contain China.

The QUAD alliance comprising of the United States-Japan-Australia-India seems to be formidable in the Indo-Pacific region. With incorporating small nations in the South China Sea with whom China has border disputes, the anti-China block has the advantage. Recently, the European Union also expressed its reservations on Huawei’s 5G apparatus and the possibility of information misuse by the Chinese surveillance system.

Soon after the LAC Fiasco, India ordered 33 fighter jets from Russia for immediate delivery. Within few months Rafale Jets will also join the Indian Air Force. Expecting a war in the 21st century between the two nuclear-capable Asian giants seems unrealistic. Up-gradation of the military is a necessity to check an aggressive China, but its global dominance can only be countered with a booming economy.

In the all-party meeting hosted by PM Modi, all political parties, barring Congress and the Communist Parties, pledged their support to the Union government. The brute majority that the current dispensation has in the parliament should be used to keep the nation intact, reforming various sectors and making India competitive in the global framework. The need of the hour is to have the political will to take bolder decisions, to protect the nation’s boundaries, and to outsmart China in their own game.

You must be to comment.

More from Ganesh Puthur

Similar Posts

By IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

By IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

By IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below