Thanks to China’s aggressive southward manoeuvres over water and land, even a friendly exchange of visits between two of its neighbours will appear to be big and much higher in importance and something against Beijing’s interests.
China is churning the environment around it for medieval style expansionism, and naturally, nearly all its neighbours are alarmed. Their normal interaction for mutual friendship is bound to cover their concerns also, in this case, the mutual concern against China’s expansionist behavior.
Fortunately, the so-called Doklam crisis over China’s attempt to pick up some Bhutanese territory, and threateningly bring its military deployment close to the nearby Indian border has been resolved. One must give credit to the saner political forces in Beijing for agreeing with India and not let the crisis blow into a military conflict.
Some territories indeed are disputed as historically people moved to their neighbouring towns and villages with freedom. There were no roads, or modern day connectivity, and borders were loosely understood and accepted. Then of course, Tibet was taken over by China, and Beijing assumed a hard line in interpreting borders and events to its advantage.
Nonetheless, whatever has happened has happened, and the Chinese leadership needs to be praised for being practical, and ready for talks. The value of Peace is not lost on either India or China, or their neighbours like Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Indonesia and Singapore.
Japan also feels threatened by China, as its lackey state of North Korea keeps testing nuclear bombs and delivery missiles along with its diatribe to destroy the United States, Japan and South Korea.
China’s aggressive claims over South China Sea have already angered all its neighbours, and they are bound to boost their military capabilities and readiness. They would also want friendly economic and defence ties with other countries in Asia, like India. Their threat is common, that is, China’s expansionism.
China is an ancient civilisation, respected for the wisdom of its sages. In fact, I recall having read about China’s greatness in our school books way back in the Fifties and Sixties; of course, the perspective changed after China attacked India in 1962.
China has to just take it easy, rather than pick up enmity or hostility with its neighbours. Nobody has a problem with China’s rising economy, but its rising territorial claims, yes.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited India recently, and put a big stamp on Indo-Japan cooperation both in economy and defence. This is normal and should be read so in the routine of international relations. If China is aggressive towards both, then these two countries are bound to come together to protect their interests.
China has shown maturity during the recent BRICS summit, defused tension with India, and the goodwill in this is not lost either in New Delhi or the world capitals.
Talks are the best mechanism to resolve misunderstandings and disputes, but as India has said, every dispute cannot be steered and resolved in China’s favour.
Gulshan Rai Luthra