‘Things in coming days would become more uncertain as far as India-China relations are concerned’.
“While the world was busy fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, China launched aggression against its neighbours. China used the pandemic to spread conflict,” Dr Adrian Haack, Director of the India office of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, said during a conference on “Chinese aggression unabated” held in Delhi earlier this week.
The conference, jointly organised by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, a German-based think tank, and former R&AW officer Jayadev Ranade-run Centre for China Analysis and strategy, held two panel discussions on the topic of unabated Chinese aggression. The discussions hosted eminent policy makers and experts from India, Taiwan and Japan, all of whom have been affected by the Chinese aggression in the last decade.
The first session of the conference discussed about China’s aggressive policies in the neighbourhood and the session was chaired by former deputy national security advisor and present Director of Vivekananda Foundation Arvind Kumar, who said that India-China relations are going to change 180 degrees and that “our Foreign Minister Dr S. Jaishankar has rightly shared the sentiments that the nation today shares about China”.
“The national sentiment today about China is that the country is unhappy with China and the Chinese have taken a very assertive foreign policy, while making Pakistan its client state,” Arvind Kumar said during his opening remarks at the conference.
Echoing similar sentiments, Jayadev Ranade said that China has an expansionist policy and that he thinks the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s nature is not to compromise and that things in the coming days would become more uncertain as far as India-China relations are concerned.
“First you look at the One Road One Belt (OBOR) policy of China, then the CPEC, China also agreed construction in the illegally occupied Kashmir region by Pakistan, addition of military power by China in their Western Theatre command. This shows that China wants to take control of this region and Xi Jingping is not someone who will relent on his expansionist policy,” Ranade said.
Dr Hiroyuki Akita, Japanese commentator on Foreign Affairs and International Security, explaining the Japanese perspective, said that China aims to become the world power by 2050 and, therefore, it is becoming more assertive in intimidating and threatening its neighbours. “The first goal of China is to intimidate and threaten us to not ally with the USA. They are intimidating us regularly over the Senkaku Island. China has for at least four times deployed warships near the Senkaku Island. Their goal is to weaken Japan and they are not going to stop,” Dr Akita said.
Dr Ying Yu Lin, adjunct assistant professor of the National Sun Yat Sen University of Taiwan, said that the Chinese partnership with Russia is a bigger threat and that China would be using cyber warfare to weaken its neighbours. During the second round of discussion on “India-China: Galwan and after”, former Indian Ambassador to China, Pakistan and Bhutan said that during his travel around India and after talking to a plethora of people, he found out that most of them do not understand the Galwan incident.
Speaking at the event, Ambassador Bambawale said, “The one that happened in Depsung, Doklam, could be accidental, but what happened in Galwan was not accidental and it was in fact a tactical and strategic move by the Chinese to show to India and the rest of Asia and to the world that the Chinese are the hegemonic power is Asia and that they have control over the Asian region.”
Explaining how we can counter a “rising China”, Ambassador Bambawale said that for it, India needs to rise to the symmetry of economical, technological and military power to the equivalent to China in the long run to take on the Chinese might, while in the short run, India, to balance out the Chinese power should strengthen its partnership with other countries around the world.
“We need to have a strong partnership with our neighbours and that is where neighbourhood first comes. We need to wedge out China from Russia and make a strong partnership with Russia,” Bambawale said.