CHENNAI, India, 27 June 2021
India is a partner with three other countries, the US, Australia, and Japan, in QUAD (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue). There is no doubt that India’s decision to be a member of QUAD is a strategic decision to safeguard India’s security interests to a large extent, and even economic interests to some extent.
China has criticized the QUAD, and has termed it an alliance of four countries primarily aimed against China. Certainly, China’s interpretation of QUAD as an anti-China group is correct and it is a fact.
Among the four members of QUAD, India is the only country that has a long border with China. And China is occupying a large area of India’s territory that it captured after the 1962 war between India and China.
In recent years, China has not concealed its ambition to become the world superpower in economic and military terms, and with territorial ambitions. China has been working out its strategies in a meticulous manner in several directions towards achieving its objective of emerging as superpower.
In the process, China does not think that the means should justify the ends. By several of its acts, it has clearly shown that it wants to subdue the world by military occupation of some regions, by extending debt and economic coercion of some other regions, and by implementing the One Belt One Road (OBOR) scheme in several developing countries in Asia and Africa, that would make these countries become dependent on China in a variety of ways for all time to come.
India is one country in Asia that has refused to join OBOR, knowing clearly the manipulative interest of China.
In such circumstances, India joining QUAD is a very important move to protect its security interests against China’s aggressive military and economic onslaught against India.
With the Tibet region under China’s control, which China brutally occupied several decades back, China is targeting to use the Tibetan territory as a launch pad to attack India militarily in future. Apart from the fact that China occupying Tibet is a clear act of aggression and is converting the region, which has a glorious traditional value system, as part of China, China’s presence in Tibet is a clear security threat for India.
India has to demand and ensure liberation of Tibet from China, and it should use its participation in QUAD as a strategy to ensure the liberation of Tibet from China’s occupation.
With Pakistan now almost at the mercy of China, India certainly faces the threat of aggression from these two countries acting together against it. While China thinks that it has to subdue India somehow as a precondition to achieve its ambition of becoming a global superpower, Pakistan has built its political and governance style with hatred against India as the central theme.
Further, China has already brought Sri Lanka under its control, with firm entry into Sri Lankan territory by way of projects. It also has India’s smaller neighbours, such as Nepal and Bangladesh, under its excessive influence .
The threat for India from China and Pakistan is real. A military conflict may take place at any time creating a war-like situation between India on one hand and China / Pakistan on the other. In such circumstances, India needs a QUAD arrangement desperately.
But what is surprising is that India is not committing itself fully and unequivocally to QUAD alignment, as it wants to keep Russia in good humour and is buying arms and ammunition from Russia, even as India is a member of QUAD.
It is well known that China and Russia are getting closer now, and in the event of aggression by China against India, Russia will pay only lip sympathy to India.
Other members of the QUAD are suspicious about the motives of Russia and China. They may be looking at India’s action and policies of maintaining close relations with Russia and buying arms from Russia with suspicion, and may think that India may not be fully committed to the objectives of QUAD.
India has to necessarily and quickly rework its commitment to QUAD, and take other QUAD members into confidence about its foreign and defence policies and priorities.
India has remained silent about China’s aggression in Tibet for several decades now, and has virtually approved China’s aggression and occupation of Tibet. As China’s presence in Tibet and its military base in Tibet is a security threat for India, and as a measure of supporting the cause of Tibet to get back its freedom, India should persuade other QUAD members that QUAD should express its concern about the presence of China in Tibet and raise demands for Tibet’s freedom.
The ground reality is that today India needs QUAD much more than the other members of the QUAD, namely the US, Japan, and Australia, who do not have to face a war-like situation with China and Pakistan.
In such circumstances, India has to firmly align itself with the interests of other members of QUAD, and use its position as a member of QUAD to protect itself against China’s aggressive tactics, which means that China free Tibet should happen.
India cannot have its cake and eat it too.
About the author
NS Venkataraman is a chemical engineer as well as 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.