China must be given a taste of India’s swing power
“Indian politicians these days,” says today’s editorial in the Chinese Communist Party-linked Global Times, “seem to think their country would be doing China a huge favor simply by not joining the “ring around China” established by the US and Japan. India’s growing power would have a significant impact on the balance of this equation, which has led India to think that fear and gratitude for its restraint will cause China to defer to it on territorial disputes. But this is wishful thinking, as China won’t make any compromises in its border disputes with India.”
This is in response to a recent announcement that India will beef up its military presence in Arunachal Pradesh, adding new troops and air assets along the border with China. The Global Times goes on to warn that “India’s current course can only lead to a rivalry between the two countries. India needs to consider whether or not it can afford the consequences of a potential confrontation with China.”
And as if stating a self-evident fact, it declares that India “can’t actually compete with China in a number of areas, like international influence, overall national power and economic scale. India apparently has not yet realized this.”
Here on INI, Pragmatic Euphony has criticised the India’s military moves for being unsophisticated. However, to the extent the announcement has acted as a truth serum, their mere announcement has already proven useful. It is hard to find a more cogent summary of what is in China’s mind—not inferred by Indian or western analysts, but stated by an organ, albeit a distant and distanceable one, of the Chinese Communist Party.
The editors at Global Times are unambiguously telling the doubting Rams in India that neither fear, nor gratitude will make China compromise in its territorial disputes with India. In fact, it won’t compromise at all. And yet it is India’s current course that will lead to rivalry between the two countries, and it is India that “will need to adjust if it hopes to cooperate with China and achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.” Such straight talk is welcome.
Although the editorial denies it, it does betray China’s big fear: that India can swing the geopolitical balance to China’s detriment should it side the United States and Japan. The foreign policy of the first UPA government failed to make China appreciate the value of Indian restraint. That’s why the second UPA government must not repeat that mistake. The consequences of a potential confrontation, after all, go both ways.