CHENNAI, India, 20 July 2017
In the last few weeks, spokesmen of the Government of China have been issuing statements and making observations against India that sound like a war cry. The 1962 war between India and China was mentioned, as a reminder to India of the happenings then, which virtually amount to a warning that events of 1962 could be repeated in 2017.
Many in the world, particularly in Asian countries, are not surprised at the belligerent attitude of China towards India at the present moment, since several Asian countries themselves have experienced China’s hostile attitude in recent times. China’s conflict with neighbours in regard to the South China Sea’s Senkaku Island are well known. Neighbouring countries now have developed a sense of fear and apprehension about China’s attitude towards them and about its long-term intentions. They think what India faces today in relation to China, they will face tomorrow.
Ever since China forcefully occupied Tibet, it developed the courage that it can do anything and get away with it, as China thinks that world opinion is always impotent and all countries are self-centred. China seems to believe that might is right, and that aggressive posture and militant approaches can make it an unquestioned superpower in the world.
World observers think that China has been showing an aggressive attitude towards its neighbours mainly to browbeat them and make them fall in line and accept China’s unquestioned leadership. This has happened in the case of Pakistan (though China has adopted a different strategy with regard to Pakistan) — but will it happen with regard to other countries in Asia?
Observers believe that China will not go for a big war with India or any other Asian country immediately in spite of its veiled threats, since its economy and its strength is dependent on trade across the world. But China would strive to ensure that it would remain prominent in the scene and feared in Asia to psychologically prepare the neighbouring countries to accept China’s claimed superiority.
China thinks that it has made USA and West European countries as dependent on China because of huge investments that have been made in China, as China is dependent on Europe and Western countries due to the market outlet and technology support that China needs.
China has concluded that because of such interdependence, USA and West European countries cannot afford to take any offensive actions against it in the present circumstances, even if China would involve itself in serious conflict with Asian countries like India and Japan. China appears to be of the view that this present dependence of USA and West European countries on China give it enough muscle power to exploit conditions in its favour.
There is no doubt in anybody’s mind that China has definite expansionist plans and that it will use its economic and military muscle power to reach its objectives of expanding its territories, shake the confidence of the neighbouring countries by browbeating them, and in the process dominate Asia.
As China has chosen India as its immediate target in its expansionist plans and strategies, India now faces a difficult scenario. India is wondering whether it should appease China and buy peace, or confront China and force peace. With 30% of the population in India remaining below the poverty line, and with an extremely urgent need to grow its economy and industry, India would not want to divert its energy and resources in conflict with China.
But if China has alternate plans and wants to continue to have friction with India as a part of its long-term expansionist strategies, then India will have little option than to fight back, with whatever consequences. With two hostile neighbours of China and Pakistan, peace in India has been disturbed already.
India certainly would expect US and West European countries to exert pressure on China to make it desist from its aggressive postures. It remains to be seen whether they will sacrifice India’s interests at the cost of their interests in China. China calculates that US and West European countries would remain self-centred and would not go beyond providing lip support to India, that would enable China to have its way.
The world is watching, and particularly other Asian countries are watching with great anxiety and apprehension on China’s next move. They are keen to know India’s strategies and action plans in dealing with China at this critical time. Certainly, they think that India should succeed.
About the author
NS Venkataraman is a chemical engineer as well as a social activist in Chennai, India. He is the founder trustee of Nandini Voice for the Deprived, a Chennai-based not-for-profit organisation serving the cause of the deprived and down-trodden, and working for probity in public life.
More articles by NS Venkataraman on Tibet Sun.