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Modi’s bid to sway China’s Xi with personal outreach was a big error. India’s paying for it

India is now paying for those obsessions, and needs hard introspection, realism and course-correction, be it on China, US or Russia.

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Let’s first list all the things that have gone right for the Narendra Modi government on strategic and foreign policy. The relationship with the US is on top of that list.

As the Chinese turned nasty, the US is the only country in the world that spoke out loudly and unqualifiedly for India. Also, at this juncture, in a purely non-transactional manner. That hasn’t happened often in Indian strategic history. Not since the end of the Cold War more than three decades ago.

It isn’t even just the shared dislike of China. Beginning with Uri, the surgical strikes, Pulwama, Balakot, Article 370 changes and now to Ladakh, the American support has been quite evident and unconditional. It is not a relationship hyphenated either with Pakistan or China.

We continue with good news. The larger regional allies, essentially in the Indo-Pacific, have held firm. Japan and Australia, in particular — the two other members of the Quad. There, the shared threat of China is a binding factor. The unequivocal support, however, is heartening.

Similarly, the Arabian powers have stayed firmly non-partisan in the big picture, unlike in the past, when they leaned towards Pakistan. Saudi Arabia and the UAE in particular. Meanwhile, ties with Israel have become more productive. There is a problem in Turkey and Qatar, but it was always there, whatever the pretence. Both are essentially in cahoots with the Muslim Brotherhood and hostile to India, the latter only more sophisticated about it than the former.

Has the relationship with Iran worsened, or improved? The last several days’ headlines would indicate that the equation is going downhill. But, given that unlike China and Russia, India was not strong enough to risk American sanctions, there wasn’t much choice available. To Iran or to India.

Possibly, it is better to be pragmatic about Iran. Over the past many years, while the Arab powers have mostly stayed out of India’s internal (Kashmir, communal relations) issues, Iran has interfered crudely.

Overall, you might still be inclined to say, so far, so good. Which is where bad news begins.

Also read: After Ladakh, India & US need deeper economic relationship, not just strategic

Much of what hasn’t gone right, paradoxically, is linked to what has. The relationship with America, for example. Despite Washington’s responses so far, including the administration’s spirited defence of India in Congressional hearings on human rights situations in Kashmir and the CAA/NRC controversy, the overall relationship has remained transactional at a low, ‘small-deal’ level. It hasn’t been consummated like a ‘big-deal’ strategic alliance.

The reason is the Modi government’s inability to break out of historical obsessions with reluctant embraces, multiple alliances and that quaint, Indian notion of strategic autonomy. Even at the transactional level, Modi’s reluctance to sign even a tiny trade deal with Trump underlines his inability to shed this chronic Indian diffidence.

He happily went to Houston and chanted “ab ki baar, Trump sarkar”, and thereby, endorsed his candidacy for re-election, never mind the context. But he wouldn’t move on even a tiny trade deal. This, after so many commitments, promises and false hopes. Trump flew all the way to India in early coronavirus season on a short visit, mostly looking for a tiny campaign win such as this. But for the Modi government, misplaced ideology and irrational fear of global trade continued to drive India’s larger strategic interest.

This minimalism left no area of the relationship untouched, even military. In six years, India did buy a few small parcels of this and that from America. But no major acquisition, co-development or production started. None. It is a different matter that now when the Chinese have rudely kicked the door open in Ladakh, you have C-17s and C-130s, Apaches, Chinooks and M777 artillery to rely on. All of it has come from America, in retail purchases. Any of these could have been a larger, balance-shifting, co-production deal if the Modi government was willing to think big.

We’ve come this far without mentioning Russia. Which looks like an error if we remember that when stuff hit the fan in Ladakh, the first country Defence Minister Rajnath Singh went rushing to was Russia. The first two emergency orders, Su-30s and MiG-29s, too were placed there. Please note again, in tiny parcels. What this underlines is that 31 years after the end of the Cold War, through 25 years of steep economic growth and now six years under Modi, India has not gotten over its military dependence on Russia.

That counts as a failure, especially at a time when Russia has emerged as China’s loyal ally. Knowing India’s dependence and vulnerabilities, lack of options and resources, it knows it can afford to play even low-level games with it. It has delivered S-400s to China, sold them subsequently to India, and may give them to Turkey as well. It isn’t anybody’s strategic ally except its own, and China’s. A sounder foreign policy would have lessened this dependence, thereby improving India’s leverage.

Also read: How India lined up US, Russia on its side of LAC and China was forced to return friendless

China was a relationship from which Modi had expected the most, it seems. It showed in a string of summits, and somewhat breathless celebration of Xi Jinping. It was hasty and simplistic. To imagine that you could sway a Chinese strongman on personal buddy-ship was a sizeable error. India is now paying for it.

Over-personalisation of diplomacy can work between two nations that are equal. Or if they are unequal, you are the stronger one. Diplomacy between two sizeable but unequal neighbours is not played successfully like jujitsu, where you use the adversary’s strengths against him.

There was also a definite misreading of Xi’s intentions, his powers and the way in which the Chinese system works. While Xi is the most powerful Chinese leader since Deng, as an individual, he might have less personal discretion over larger policy than a Modi.

India’s handling of him was immature, and since he kicked us in the shins in Doklam, the equation has shifted. It is now quite clear that he read Wuhan as Modi pleading with him not to create more mischief and upset his prospects in the coming elections. In these exchanges, if you respect the other side, you’d know that the Chinese think too. And they make their own assessment of your intentions, as you make of theirs. It doesn’t even matter who was right or wrong. What matters is what you get at the end of the day. That, in one word, is Galwan.

After misplaced ideological paranoia of trade and over-personalised diplomacy, the next big negative was the way the Modi-BJP electoral politics got caught in foreign policy. If Hindu-Muslim polarisation is your main vehicle for winning elections, then ‘othering’ of the Muslim is essential.

Never mind that it closes your options with Pakistan. But it also troubles your most reliable neighbour, Bangladesh. Modi had started off well, sealing the border settlement with Bangladesh in the national interest which his party had not allowed UPA to do. But then, the desperation to first win Assam, then West Bengal, ruined that start.

You cannot call Bangladeshis infiltrators and termites and threaten to deport them on the one hand and whisper the opposite to Sheikh Hasina on the other. You can be sure that after sealing Iran, Nepal and Sri Lanka, now, China will turn its attention to Dhaka. Wasn’t there an important, zero-tariff trade deal in the works these last few weeks? Check. Objects in the mirror are closer than they seem. India is paying the price for the Modi-BJP electoral politics.

Powerful leaders with huge popularity have many strengths. But they also have some weaknesses. One of these is sycophancy. If they begin to enjoy it, then history tells you how disastrous the results are, without exception. India’s strategic policy-making needs hard introspection, realism and course-correction. Not just in method and style, but in substance and fundamental politics. Especially at home. A polarised electorate might be good for a party. But a divided population is dangerous for a nation.

Also read: It’s time for China, Pakistan, even India to rethink the fantasy Modi called expansionism


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  1. If modi had not wooed xi, still galwan would have happened. In that case maybe you would have said that galwan happened because modi ignored xi.

  2. In addition to the relative weakness of India vis à vis China when it comes to economic or military power, India under Modi has squandered one of its biggest assets vis à vis China: its enormous reservoir of soft power.

    Soft power, as one of its experts Joseph Nye explains is :

    “.. the ability to attract through intangible assets such as shared values, justness, political values, internal practices and policies, culture and moral authority ..”

    Soft power does not depend on hard power. The Vatican, with a population of 850 priests has no army, navy or air force and yet wields enormous soft power. Stalin once mockingly asked:
    “How many divisions does the Pope have” ?

    Well, Stalin is gone but Popes are still around. And no, I am not defending many of the questionable actions of the Popes, but merely pointing out that military assets alone do not confer power. Thus. small countries like Norway, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland wield soft power resources that enable them to play above their leagues.

    Getting back to India and China.

    India, unlike China and its sidekick Pakistan had enormous resources of soft power. As someone who has lived most of his life in Europe, I did observe that many of my Pakistani colleagues would claim to be Indian in many social and other settings. The Pakistani usher in my office in France asks me to get saris whenever I travel to India because he does not want his wife to wear a salwar-kameez and be perceived as a Pakistani Muslim ! My Chinese colleagues in Switzerland admire the fact that as an Indian origin man (I am no more a citizen of India), I speak a global language English, question authority and am used to a free press.

    Likewise, Indian food, yoga, Bollywood, democracy, a free press, regular elections, the policy of refuge being given to persecuted people such as the Dalai Lama & Tibetans, commitment to multi-national organisations, contribution to UN Peacekeeping, the stature of tall personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Tagore and so on have over the last 5 to 6 decades given India enormous soft power reservoirs. And when it comes soft power, India easily beats China and completely trounces Pakistan.

    But today, under the violent Hindutva and intolerance that the Modi regime has unleashed in India, the country is now being equated with Pakistan. Several of my diplomat colleagues watch in amazement as India gets transformed by Hindu mullahs like Adityanath, Uma Bharti, Pragya Thakur and their ilk into a violent, intolerant mirror-image of Pakistan. A French chap reporting to me refused to travel to India because he felt that as a beef-eater he would get lynched just as Muslims were getting lynched by gaurakshaks for being beef-eaters. An Indian food festival in Frankfurt last year degenerated into a fight as North India BJP types violently protested against Keralites serving beef dishes. The police had to be called to restore order and had to tell the BJP types that eating beef was perfectly legal in Germany. For the record, beef is eaten by Hindus in Kerala, Goa and much of the North-East.

    And then you have enormous pseudo-science that the BJP has been promoting – ranging from ludicrous “science congresses” to government sponsored quackery promoted by AYUSH. The mockery that Morarji Desai drew for his urine therapy as a lone individual has now become the butt of many jokes where Indians get ridiculed for their urine and dung obsession.

    A country’s soft power rests on 3 resources:
    Its culture and the attractiveness of it
    Its political values
    Its foreign policies and their legitimacy as well as moral authority

    The Modi regime has never grasped this aspect of India’s soft power and how to leverage them. Nor does it seem to care as soft power has little politicking or electoral value in the country. But soft power, the one area where India stood tall, indeed very tall in the comity of nations has been squandered by Modi and the BJP.

    PS: I am an international civil servant of Indian origins, work in 2 European countries and am as ever, perplexed at this descent into intolerance and fascism and feel sorry for the gradual erosion of India’s stature under the present government.

  3. This is a classic case of hindsight is 20/20.
    I do agree that Modi, has not taken bold, out of the box steps when it comes to the Economy.
    On the deal with US, India is a sizeable country, there are no other parallels of a deal between US and a country of similar complexities as India (don’t say China, it is different, as you point out). When one looks at the ‘special’ relationship between, UK and US, it is basically US deciding (look at the Iran nuclear deal, it was not possible initially because US was not keen (Bush), then it was keen, there was a deal (Obama), then US is no longer keen on it (Trump), so they unilaterally got out of it) and UK saying ‘lets do it’. All UK does is takes a deep breath and talks about the special relationship. Aligning with the US is not just about signing a trade deal. A bad deal is the worst-case scenario, we know what happened to the much touted ‘nuclear deal’. India should not get into a deal with US until after the US elections.

  4. This article confirms that Gupta has lost whatever little credibility he had left.
    This is a last ditch attempt by the Congis and their guns for hire ……. a kind of last stand prior to assured animation at the next election.

    • Mr Alfred Smith: While one notes that you are good at hurling invective at The Print & Mr Shekar Gupta, you are woefully inadequate when it comes to formulating even a single, cogent argument as to why Mr Gupta’s credibility is lost.

      The problem with blinkered, brainwashed bhakths like you is that you only want to hear stories that paint your Gujarati Messiah in a positive light. And when you read a fact based article that essentially demolishes the credibility and achievements of this highly educated graduate of Delhi University, your ilk does what it knows best – behave like a shaka educated, gomutra swilling gaurakshak who is only capable of foulmouthing and violence.

      You ought to get one fact into your gaurakshak skull: Criticism of Messiah Modi is not necessarily an endorsement of the Congress. Or for that matter any other political party in India. And if you can’t grasp that, why don’t you stop reading The Print and go inhale Arnab Goswami’s hot air on Republic TV?

      • Show us one such article that explains the inefficiency of Ministry of Defence and the lost decade during UPA rule by Shekhar Gupta other than the famous Indian Army Coup theory

        does The Print also run a INCNREGA schema in the comments section to fight rationally argumenting people as Bhakts and other side as intellectuals

  5. All of it well postulated. However an important consideration that you overlooked is how do these countries, that China announces these great big deals with, fare in the long term? Just because China goes around with a fat wallet throwing money and doing deals can’t be the sole factor warranting a response of a nation like ours. That too when your argument is long term commitments and complete realignment! If anything, the last few years with Trump at the helm in America has taught the world a lesson that each must look out for self and that requires keeping all options open. There are no permanent friends & foes in international relations, this is a function of there being only one constant, self interest.
    Most countries that have dealt with China, have realised sooner than later that the Chinese always drive a hard bargain and quickly descend to bullying when they don’t get what they want. Acquiescence is the only option if you have let them in too far, especially in a benevolent relationship. Consider African nations, or our western neighbor.
    In the end, would love to know how you see China, neither a democracy nor even getting close to be one, assume the world leadership role, especially now after Xi played his hand the way he has. In a world that is increasingly aware of individual rights and their primacy.

  6. What Gupta actually means is that reaching out to China is the sole prerogative of the Gandhis. Afterall they are The First Family.
    In his sycophantic narrative he forgets that the Gandhis outreach to China was for personal gain whereas PM Modi has India’s best interest at heart.

  7. World does not revolve around Indian politics. Indian journalist have been caught up in their propaganda and yes same can be said of politicians too. But first journalists …. Go open up CNA, New Straits times, Straits time, Al jeera or even Dawn….there the foreign news content is 30% to 70%. In Indian publications it is 10 %. Yes this may be a necessity due to unstated censorship of most items on National politics gulf and south east asia but then how do they score more on freedom of press index. But average reader of these publications will have better international perspective. Even in self obsessed US it will be 30%. Coming to Gulf nations.. in 1971 … 21 Islamic or so nations including moderate Indonesia helped Pakistan and this has not changed much and sweeping this under carpet will not help matters either but his can be improved. For Trump US .. India has not been important… Infact no other country is but he does know the need to manage China. Trump has shopkeeper mindset, he has rightly brought out all the strategic issues which most US politician cannot articulate or worse are afraid to talk about (has Biden said anything against China yet) and this Trump thought was enough to get reelected with some action (like trade tariffs against China or deal ) ……this China is trying very hard to stop by attacking his lack of action on strategy at fag end of his term. For China yes firstly Xi is not the strong man like Mao and Deng ..he could be scapegoat. Tomorrow if things go turtle he would be disposed off and Chinese can very well claim a clean slate again giving up very less in real terms or changing thier ways in long term. The only lesson for India , US and world as far as China is concerned is do not let them draw red lines all over the place and bring as many issues, differences as you can in public domain and in newspapers… covid 19, SCS, Uighar, technology transfers, cyber etc

  8. The thing that is apparent from events and their responses so far is that like on all other fronts Modi sarkar’s record on external affairs is average – some hits and many flops. So has been the case for almost all past Indian govt as well. The hype is just due to media support and Indian people’s blinkers not allowing a clear eyed assessment of the situation as it stands. Attempt to portray Modi as some modern day Krishna and Rama by one commentator clearly illustrates my point about Indians being blind to the situation on ground. Xi and Trump and Putin do not worship the ground that Modi walks and hence do not feel the need to oblige him all the time – that is the reason for failure of all his summits.

    The hallmark of this govt is that there has been such neglect of the economy that we have brought this situation onto us by eroding our biggest strength. PM has to re-focus national energies onto setting the economy right before trying to wrest any advantage on the diplomatic front. Strong economy will automatically result in more leverage with international partners. Trying to change the international situation with a limpid economy is making make us look like the USSR in the 80s.

    • Mr/Ms NM: Finally, a sober assessment of Modi’s patented “dhokla diplomacy” and the predictable débâcle that it has entailed !

      Loved your very grounded, clear-headed comment – devoid of the usual “Messiah Modi can do nothing wrong – Nehru did nothing right” labels that bhakths spout as a knee-jerk reaction whenever they hear something negative about the 56 inch chested chowkidar. Although I would have been inclined to assess Modi’s diplomatic endeavours as “no hits and all flops” rather than your “some hits and many flops”. But I do not intend to split hairs on that single phrase in an otherwise brilliant post. I will confine myself to another vital issue you raise: the strength of the economy as a prerequisite for generating clout on the international arena. And the fact it is economic strength that makes people notice you – as China has proved.

      The 6 years of the Modi reign has shown that in the trade-off needed between economic growth and Hindutva ideology, the PM has chosen the latter rather than the former. And that decision has been to the detriment of the country, particularly its vast informal sector where 82% of India’s labour toils. Demonetisation was the first of many self-goals, nay blows inflicted on the solar plexus of the economy. Followed by a bungled GST implementation.

      Worse still, the timing of these self-goals could not have come at a worse moment. Oil prices were down, the Chinese economy was tanking and the Indian economy was chugging along quite well. And then comes a bizarre, hare-brained Modi move that unnecessarily hobbles the Indian economy.

      Likewise, Hindutva policies such as prevention of cattle slaughter clashes with Modi’s signature Make in India scheme which promotes leather! Essentially, Modi gifts India’s lucrative leather industry to Pakistan and Bangladesh. Worsening the economic outlook is the delusional “atmanirbhar” mumbo-jumbo, which is bound to be generate reciprocal tit-for-tat restrictions on Indian exports from trading partners.

      To re-iterate your point, unless the economy is managed professionally, without being hobbled by Hindutva and the government makes it the rising tide that lifts Indians of all hues, the country, like the former USSR, will languish at the proverbial Hindu rate of growth. And if I were to extrapolate from the last 6 years of the Modi government, sadly, that is unlikely to happen.

  9. China and India are like day and night. China is a centrally governed, one-party totalitarian regime, which don’t have to pander to voters to stay in power. China owns all land and even its people, and don’t need their permission to do anything, so it can build anything, anywhere, anytime, anyhow, with no one to stop them. In India, govt can’t even build a road, without landowners protesting and rioting, or filing PILs etc. So it’s much easier for the mandarins to put their plans into action and see them thru, than it is in this country, which is continually in political warfare mode. Regarding his interaction with chairman Xi, at least Mr Modi made the effort, so now he can say “I tried”, and move on with his agenda, whatever that is.

  10. Dear Mr Gupta,

    Whilst I agree with a number of arguments you have put forward in the article, I disagree with your point around Mr Modi’s inability to improve relationship or engage with Pakistan (or Islamic countries) due to his and BJP’s position on internal politics.

    Had that been the case, he would not have made the unambiguous and public outreach to Mr Nawaz Sharif (and other Islamic countries and leaders in SAARC) as part of his swearing in and in a number of engagements soon after. Further, he has been unapologetic in developing relationships with Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE; in fact, he has been very open about his personal and close interactions with leaders of these countries.

    I understand National Interest is an opinion piece and is your view on matters under discussion as against Off The Cuff which is fact based mostly. However, in this instance and on this specific issue, the conclusion is based on a casual leap of imagination.

    • Mr Anirvan Bannerjee: There is a lot more to diplomacy than merely meeting the heads of state of foreign powers and sipping chai with them.

      You need to differentiate between the symbolic moves and the more substantial ones that yield tangible outcomes for your country. Meeting Nawaz Sharif or the heads of other Islamic countries is well and good but what quantifiable benefits did it bring to India?

      Additionally, you seem to forget that most of these countries – Islamic as well as the nominally Christian countries of Europe and N.America – know that Modi is an exponent of violent Hindutva and everyone knows what Hindutva stands for. The lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq (RIP) in Dadri made headlines all over the world as did Modi’s tepid and delayed response shrugging off responsibility for the event. Likewise, the anti-Islamic and anti-Arab twitter turds that BJP’s premature ejaculator Tejaswi Surya spews have not gone unnoticed in the Arab world. Foreign Minister Jaishankar had to work the phones with his UAE colleagues after Tejaswi Surya bad-mouthed them. BJP politicians take the lead in spewing anti-Islamic venom right under Modi’s nose and with his consent and Modi cannot spin that away in international arenas.

      You cannot practise state sponsored violence towards Muslims in India, lynch innocent Muslims and expect Muslim countries or the rest of the world to not notice. Whilst Modi’s “dhokla diplomacy” overtures may be met with proper protocol mandated politeness, he has little else to show for his efforts. After all, that Howdy Modi stunt in Houston got India precious little whilst at the same time enabled Donald Trump to raise money for his re-election from well-heeled Indians didn’t it?

      Don’t you really think that foreign leaders are playing the man like a fiddle ?

      • I don’t know why I am not allowed to write an independent reply on the Print articles. Though I am not a Modi critique and have even been a kind of supporter. Bit I liked this article very much and a well thought out except some anti-Modi adventurism here and there, which is very essential to be qualified to be posted by the Print


    • Somberi: When did facts about this Gujarati become “character assassination” ? So you only want to hear praise about this man?

  12. India is certainly not paying for anything. Contrary to what Shekhar Gupta, a librandu thinks, India is now more capable to meet any challenge from China who can only bark but have lost teeth to bite India. India has more friends from world leaders. Indian librnadus are behaving like pet dog of China. They have to deliver what China expects them to deliver i.e. anti Modi and anti India propaganda..

  13. Mr Shekhar Gupta if you beg for money from readers inspite of having best of the talent (your claim, not mine) then no one will shell out even a penny if you write such trash. You language that China kicked us in the shin seem to be of a pervert who takes delight in bashing his own country when country needs to speak in ome voice. And Modi should be credited for all the honest efforts he did to build relations with China through various summits. Did you know that China would, in your own words kick us in the chin ? In hindsight it is very easy to abuse Modi. You language shows you increased frustration, a clear attempt to divert the debate from the failure of congress leadership which is the hot topic now. And unlike Gandhi family Modi doesnt cut deals with the Chinese. When required he gave our soldiers a free hand that resulted in casualties on Chinese side which far outnumber ours. Its a different matter that you do not have the spine to accept that. Also we haven’t seen any reference to the deal Rahul signed with the Chinese ? Why ? Why is that your own trusted and loved boss Rahul and his family is often caught in dubious deals which are against the interst of the nation ? Dont you have the courage to question Rahul or Sonia ? Remember they are out on bail in NH case. People like you who look at Modi with Left/congress glasses will never understand him.

  14. Extremely enlightening article and arguments and counter arguments in comment section . A very simple question though . What makes a nation great ? Its nationals I think . The present chaos concerning covid19 in all major cities and the absolutely tremendous and systematic loot of commoners by the officials and medical professionals poses a serious question . As a nation , as it’s part are we ever going to be responsible and honest nationals ?

  15. Are you puppet of Congress..It looks like..Please dont be stupid in writing articles for money from Congress. INWADBSURPRISED TO SEE SUCH FOOLISH article..

  16. Well Written.

    Mr Modi is a great contemporary leader. He has great vision for India and is working hard towards it. Like every Indian leader in past (inc. Mr Nehru) he tried to be friends with China, and was stabbed. Given it did not work, calling it a mistake is not wrong. No one is perfect, and for sure he will learn from this and turn things around.

    ‘Over-personalisation of diplomacy’ this summarizes chineese situation aptly. Khudos to Mr. Gupta for having guts to call spade a spade, especially in times of spineless, inciteful, and partisan journalism.

  17. By and large, I agree with Shekar Gupta’s views. But, we have the luxury of second guessing what a head of the government, or the benefit of hindsight and say Modi’s move to woo Xi Jinping was a mistake. But, at the time of the acts, did Modi have the benefit of a different view about relationship with Xi Jinping. We will never know. Just as India has lived with the mistakes of congress and non-BJP governments, India will live with Modi’s mistakes also. They are no so serious so as cause a scar on India’s psyche.

    As regards NRC, there is no option. It has to happen later, if not soon. Perhaps ours is the only country which does not know who its citizens are.

  18. Well written.

    Mr Modi is a great comtemporary leader. He has a great vision for India, and is working hard for it. He made a mistake in handling China. But for sure he will learn and make amends and try to turn the situation around.

    ‘Over-personalisation of diplomacy’ this summarizes chineese situation aptly. Khudos to Mr. Gupta for having guts to call Spade a Spade, especially in times of spineless, incitefull, and distorted journalism. Thanks Mr. Gupta.

  19. Shekhar, you need to stop thinking your personal opinion is expert advice or it matters to anybody.
    Modi tried his best to try to resolve disputes with China or for that matter even with Pakistan with friendship. It was not reciprocated by China and Pakistan is not failure of Modiji but failure of these countries to have used the opportunity to resolve disputes and work together for greater good of their people.
    At least tomorrow in event of war people will not say Modiji didn’t try for peace. This is similar to Mahabharat war where Duryodhan does not want to listen to reason or friendship .

  20. Essentially correct analysis & criticism I guess. But then there should be constructive suggestions as well. What should India do?
    Maybe, we should get really close with the western world – the values we love – democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom to think, freedom to fail, freedom to disagree and most importantly – economic freedom.
    Clearly, Iran or China is irrelevant w.r.t these values. We being ancient civilisational state along with Iran or China does mean we are any way similar to each other. We are NOT.
    We should also conquer the national phobia (at least the English speaking Indians) of a neo “East India Company” enslaving us.
    One thing though about CAA. Whatever we say – India is the natural Homeland of Indic peoples – ethnic Indians following the traditions of Jainism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism. Nothing can change that. For example. there are around 10,000 Sikhs in Afghanistan – if they are prosecuted – they must find shelter in India. This cannot be negotiable. And this open door should remain open for eternity. Else you are asking for fundamentalist to take over the country. CAA must be there, maybe remove the crazy cutoff of December 31st 2014.

  21. Gupta is definitely speaking on behalf of Chinese and Congress.

    And he wants us to donate to his rag while pretending to follow “intelligent and objective journalism”.

  22. Spot on, Modi is looking a lot like Nehru on the china front. Also Modi has polarised the public with hindu muslim divide, let us not forget we cannot wish away 20% of our population, or barter them to pakistan.

  23. Because it has been written by you, d also because I have developed respect for your analysis over the years, I went through the piece again.

    Somewhere, because of the timing of the article, I get a feeling that this was an attempt by you to provide intellectual succour to Rahul in his spat with Dr. Jaishankar on foreign policy.

    Are you suggesting engaging with China to improve bilateral relationship should not have been attempted at all by Modi? Is not the present trade volume providing a leverage to India? I think this is wise after the event comment. I repeatedly heare from peaceniks that we should talk to Pakistan in spite of three wars, and daily killings at LOC, that we should play cricket with them that we should make movies with their star’s, so on and so forth…

    But we should not have engaged Xi… God!

    There are 57 islamic countries, that the whole world does not have problems in dealing with. China treatment of Uighur Muslims is well known, yet Pak, Iran or Bangladesh have no moral qualms in dealing with China. Then why should there be a problem in dealing with a Hindu majority nation? Why should we not ask Bangladesh, where hindu population has disappeared? From 21 to 7 percent now?

    Shekhar Jee, this is a hypothetical question, but please answer if India were a 15 trillion economy and China 3 tn, how all this would have played out?

    And my last question to you, and I expect you to answer, if India is to take on China will it be on the support of Nepal and BD?

    Overall I like Print, and I have decided to be a paid subscriber even though it is not mandatory as of now.


    • Shekhar ji is saying what you’r asking hypothetically 15tn and 3tn economies with near equal popn. You see, we are not equal powers. Saner voices have always been to go in for a negotiated settlement. Is there an instance where a smaller power economically and militarily winning against the numerically and economically superior power.

      1962 war was thrust on nehru by the overzealous nationalists. Even Indian army under thimmaiah had actually said, it is unfair to the soldiers to start a war with china. He in fact said the political leadership should try negotiate and avoid a war and save the soldiers of this burden.

      Modi, personally is learning, life would be easier in the opposition. You can talk all bravado while criticizing MMS or Nehru. Nationalists thank him again for giving this tally 20:43. This could be as true as 300 terrorists killed in balakot airstrikes. Good, modi can keep these nationalists in-check unlike nehru or MMS.

  24. Shekhar Gupta, a Congi darbari journalist is now ably acting as a “useful idiot” for the Chinese.
    Guptaji, pray tell us how China’s genocide of its Uighur Muslims — incl such genteel practices as forcibly chopping off beards and force feeding during Ramzan days (no, not during iftar), is affecting China’s relations with the “Ummah” including its beloved “evergreen” ally Pakistan.
    Question is also thrown to Pakis and Ummah. China need not answer.

    • What China can do we can not do..we have not reached that level of importance in the world affairs.

    • Why? Is MODI some God who cannot be criticized? Hyper criticism of Modi or anybody by somebody like Rahul doesn’t work. Journalists should do their job, which is to speak truth to power.

  25. The print has always have expressed contaminated views on RSS BJP and Modi. As a nationalist one will always oppose Islamic and Church combo demographic change pattern that targets Hindutva and tries to spread the religion under the White-garb of Church and Cap- clads, and when these people are targeted, Human Rights which are stooges of Islamic- Church combo comes to the rescue.
    Under the name of modern education right from Macauley these organisations have systematically tried it’s best to pollute the minds of young generation, by spreading hatred of it’s reach culture, and praising invaders and terrorists sponsored by Pakistan and Islam, which is a worldwide threat.
    Print need not bother about India or Hindustan, your real job is to teach Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam to Church and Islam.

  26. I agree with most of the article – All good relations, India’s dependency on Russia and US for defence supplies. No significant deals between India and US despite good relations, India’s tied hands in the case of Iran.

    With due respect, I have to disagree on this or more clarification needed in upcoming writings to agree with you. Yes, Galwan issue was a miscalculation from India’s end. But I never see your accountability on Indian Army’s strong retaliation , recent voice on South China sea, economic retaliation in the form of bans. Without considering this , how are you terming it like a failure ? Calling spade a spade is the best thing. But the question is on what basis you are calling it a spade ? To me, this is a good wake up call and India will always look to lessen the trade deficit from here on.

  27. Fair point. India could have done better.
    That said, the article feels like an exhausting effort to live in the past, instead of building a futuristic thought process.
    1) Why should India give up “strategic ambiguity”, even if such a thing were to exist? Dr. Jaishankar explained elsewhere that India’s policy is “India First”. That means, all options are on the table. Now, why do you need a strategic alliance? Trump’s America isn’t about to sign a strategic alliance with anyone these days, and is happily ripping off existing alliances (ask NATO). So, does that even make sense to have a strategic alliance with America? It’s a valuable friendship no doubt, but it perhaps not an “alliance” in the traditional sense of the word. A “working alliance” is what it is, and what would suffice.
    2) Do you really believe that Modi would ask Xi to back off so he can win elections? I’m afraid you are wrong, Shekhar. Modi made a good faith effort with China, just as multiple US presidents (since Nixon) engaged China. All did so with the intention that engaging China productively is better than fighting it. But it’s obvious that such China has other views. Fine, we can deal with that too. What’s the big deal in trying? We did pay the price in blood. But now that Xi has revealed his cards, we know what we are truly up against. No ambiguities there.
    3) Options on Pakistan: I’m afraid this is one of your unfinished agendas Shekhar. There are no options on Pakistan. India has made it quite clear, repeatedly on that front. On this matter, the ambiguity is only in your head, not in reality.
    4) Where does CAA/NRC/Nationalism come into picture? India is a sovereign nation, and will make its laws as it sees fit. All these were passed in Parliament with duly elected representatives. That the “left lobby” in India tried to hype it up as something it isn’t is a known fact. Again, this is something that only people who conflate matters (and consider Prashant Bhushan types as heroes) can write. The ambiguity on this is in your head, not in reality.
    5) Finally, don’t even try to compare Modi with the likes of Xi/Trump/Erdogan/etc. That’s a false equivalency. Modi plays a far different game than others though it may appear similar on the surface.

    Shekhar, even though you are a respected journalist, and I admire your works, I have to tell you that you are missing the boat on how Modi works. Your ideas of Modi is right vs. left, etc. is based on a 19th and 20th century reading of history. If you want to understand how Modi (or other Indian leaders) operate, I humble suggestion is to study Shri Krishna of the Mahabharata. Krishna doesn’t put on any ideological lenses, such as left, right, center, etc. He only focus on the task at hand, and tries to get the Pandavas to perform that task with the limited resources they have. Similarly, Sri Rama in Ramayana works with his enemy’s brother (Vibheeshana) and army of vanaras (apes) to achieve His objectives. There’s a leadership lesson here that Modi and his team are putting to use. There’s nothing like strategic ambiguity. What exists is a laser focus on using the available resources to achieve your (near-term and long term) objectives. Because all strategic alliances are short term in nature, as we can see now with NATO, JCPOA, etc.

    So, stop peddling ideas from the likes of Francis Fukayama and Martin Wolf. They are intelligent, no doubt, but hardly the types who can advise us. Find organic leaders who have dwelt in Indian leadership lessons, to learn how India is approaching the issues. Dig deeper and understand, rather than outsource your ideas to others. And perhaps, give some respect to those who are actually delivering results, even in the face of Himalayan (literally and figuratively) challenges.

  28. Guys,

    It is easy to pass judgement and cast aspersions when you are not in the hot seat (PM). Shekhar Gupta is not a politician and hence cannot pass political “judgements”. As Prannoy Roy’s close friend, he is biased against BJP and Modi.

    • He praises Modi on lot of occasions and questions Indira/Rajeev Gandhi policies. He seems to be neutral to me.

  29. As far as India’s relationship with America, Trump is not a trustworthy man? When America’s NATO allies don’t’ trust him, why would India rush into his embrace? Here are some quotes from a Bloomberg opinion column: “Europeans will never be quite so sure of the U.S. security guarantee; Iranians and many others will never completely trust a U.S. signature on a treaty; and everyone will want to be less dependent — if they can — on U.S. trade and the U.S. dollar,” Thomson says.

    “For sure, a Biden victory would be celebrated in many capitals, even if initially only because it would mean an end to dealing with the current administration. It’s an open secret in Berlin that Chancellor Angela Merkel has given up on trying to work with Trump. …… Merkel, for one, is well aware that relations with the U.S. can’t go back to the old normal, according to a high-ranking German official who asked not to be named discussing bilateral relations. Too many things have happened and the world has moved on, the official said.”

    “The result is a long term push to reduce the dollar dependency that makes even close allies vulnerable to economic pressure from the U.S. Treasury. The European Commission has begun to design dollar avoidance vehicles with the aim of curbing the power of the greenback.”

    Realizing that the man America has as its [president is a clown and an “useful idiot”, “China has shed its former reticence to confront Washington — including through a recently reported deal to bankroll and arm Iran — creating a radically altered geopolitical landscape for any White House occupant. …… Current and former officials in Beijing say the Communist Party leadership would prefer to see Trump win in November, fearing that Biden would be better able to unify Eastern allies to resist China’s influence. And according to Biden’s campaign team, they’re right.”

    “Core U.S. allies aren’t quite what they were, either. French President Emmanuel Macron last year called the U.S.-dominated NATO alliance “brain dead” and echoed Trump in casting doubt on the collective security guarantee at its heart. Macron’s been pushing for EU member states to integrate their defense and foreign policy resources so they’re less reliant on U.S. security guarantees.”

    Even John Bolton, the former NSA to Trump, has said that Trump doesn’t care for India. All he wants to do is, perhaps use India for geopolitical reasons, and sell it weapons worth billions of dollars. He left America’s ally the curds in Syria to their fate (to be butchered by the Turks), and also left Afghanistan in a hurry, after two decades, and spending billions of dollars, leaving the country to the Talibans. AND ASKED INDIA TO TALK TO THE TALIBANS, WHO ARE A PROXY OF ISI OF PAKISTAN!

    India should wait for less than four months, until Joe Biden becomes the next president, before it makes any deal with America.

  30. Mr. Gupta, you need to lift your game before you ask us for our hard earned money……

    “We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and …….. And we aren’t even three yet.”

    “And we aren’t even three yet.”????? ….. WTF ???

    “We also have the country’s most robust editing…..” …………Really?

  31. Mr. Gupta, all the “constructive” criticism is just fantastic & definitely very welcome. However ……. where are the alternate solutions? Haven’t your Congress paymasters not provided those yet? Or are those the topic of next week’s article, instructions awaited from Beijing?

  32. India inherited problems to deal with China,USA and Pakistan. Defense and foreign policy can not be discussed in isolation which are closely related to trade and commerce too. Russia,USA and china have their own priorities to promote trade and commerce which further decide relationship with India.
    Article is by and large against policies of Modi and Shah. What ever they did in Jammu and Kashmir, reaction from China was expected.
    Shekhar Gupta didn’t mention that China too was perturbed because of aggressive Jammu and Kashmir policy. China sees threat to heavy financial investment in construction of corridor to access Chahabar port, infrastructure developed by India in boarder areas along China.

  33. It is so very easy to comment from the fence SG. Am out of internal odds and external dynamics, do you think anyone else who can take on effectively? Doing things decisively are presented in wrong direction as if there is no brain left in others except…. there is machinery that works behind and Modi is supposedly giving directions and pursue . In such a intense political international game some you win and some you loose depending on what you have in your kitty or what baggage you get from past. I wonder what you will deliver if you get chance to do so. It needs lot of courage and resourcefulness to drive such a nation. Critics are good enough and Modi has right mind to learn and drive. This is more of a farce and cut the cluttering. Make sure you do not go RAGA way…

  34. Except for his comments on Nepal, Shekhar is wrong in his analysis about minuses of Modi era. Of course, major flaw with Modi is that he did not initiate big bang structural economic reforms for last 6 years and wasted precious time of his stewardship by relying on Jaitley in the first term and then on Nirmala in the second;both have proved to be badly inadequate in their assigned tasks. As regards charges of too much personalized diplomacy on the part of Modi, it is an unfair comment as in today’s time, media makes out any meet as a mega event and builds up unrealistic expectations. By engaging with China, Modi did get good 6 years to build up infrastructure on border so that today, India could stand firm against China. For our dependence on Russia for defense equipment, Modi cannot be faulted as it takes time to build up domestic capability and capacity, though Modi could have done much better there; absence of a good defense minister barring a couple of years under Parikar added to the woes. FTA with USA or Europe or even joining of RCEP has its own peculiar issues detrimental to Indian interests but if Modi had initiated structural reforms in 2014-15, by now India would have been in a much stronger position to signs FTAs with these countries.. Shekhar is entirely wrong on the issue of CAA and NRC. Both are required but issues arising out of NRC for Bangla illegal immigrants need to be resolved by identifying them and offering them residency and handling specific issue of Assam separately. In short, strategic picture for India is much stronger today but if we had a better economic growth, it would have
    looked that much better.

  35. Well analyzed and well-written article. I agree on many points of the latter part of your article which is written about the weaknesses. However, looking at the road travelled so far since independence we have been pro-Russia (not because of our policy but because the U.S., aligned with Pak and now understood PAK is a terror sponsored state) and the relationship with U.S. was built somewhere in the last 15-20 years. (I am not a journalist like Shekar Gupta and so cannot remember or dig out data) . Now, coming to the strategic policy, let us all believe that there is a course correction taking place in the overall perspective and the BJP (do not read as Modi Government) has definite designs for a strong and secular democracy. But today, the fear seems to be that Chinese is the BIGGEST THREAT to the over-all world and I will certainly think THE TOTALLITARION style of governance by the CPI seems to be working wonders for them. You cannot deny this fact. They have garnered the world-economy thanks to U.S.’s policies and high costs etc. One particular point I am upset is about the military modernization and quick augmentation of ammunition as rightly pointed out by the author. We should have scaled up our forces with ammunition as well as personnel. CHINA IS THE BIGGEST THREAT not only to India but to the WHOLE WORLD. Unitedly, we all should find a solution to this and put China in place.

  36. The truth is that Modi is no different from past rulers. Clueless left wing socialist continuing the same discredited ideas and schemes, albeit under new names. When everything is same same expecting different results is lunacy.

  37. A good analysis.
    Can India go whole hog in hugging somebody, overnight in a manner of speaking. Any relationship, including marriage, takes time to mature and build mutual respect and confidence. To borrow an old cliche’ relationships are like wine – it will get better with time.
    Patience is the key.

  38. India is a very young country that sees things through its own eyes while in foreign relations understanding the situation from the viewpoint of the other country is equally important.Thus the present situation is entirely blamed on Modi’s misreading of Xi’s intentions. However let us look at it from another perspective. Consider India’s reaction if Xi would have
    a) Declared that Ladakh was historically under the sway of Tibet and was captured by the British vassal Gulab Singh in 1834-41. That with the withdrawal of the British it should revert to Tibet.
    b). Declared in China’s parliament that blood would be shed to wrest Ladakh from India
    c) Started infrastructure building and boasted to its people that it was talking steps to wrest Ladakh from India.
    There would obviously be an uproar in India. Now see what India has actually done
    a) It abrogated Article 370 and declared Ladakh a Union Territory in spite of a 1993 agreement with China to maintain status quo in Ladakh. China and indeed President Xi protested strongly but India turned a deaf ear to the protests.
    b) The Indian Home Minister declared in Parliament that India would shed blood to wrest Aksai Chin from China. This was a clear statement of intention and in international relations it is the intentions and not actual capabilities that determine relations. The relations between mighty USA and a miniscule North Korea are so bad not because of North Korea’s capabilities but because of its openly stated intention to destroy USA. Shedding blood to wrest Aksai Chin from Ladakh sounds no different to Chinese ears than China’s statement to shed blood to wrest Ladakh from India would have sounded to Indian ears.
    c) The flurry of road building whose aim was to encircle the Chinese by establishing Indian posts at the source of the Galwan river and which attempt previously according to General Panag had led to the 1962 war was given wide publicity and indeed shown as an example of how this government was different from the weak government of Nehru and his successors. This was where a 56 inch chest was different from a 5 inch chest.Courage without preparation, without means and above all without common sense is a recipe for disaster.
    China unsurprisingly protested, took the matter to the UN and failing to attain its object took military action. Modi and Xi made their intentions unequivocally clear to each other and so the view that Modi misread Xi’s intention or Xi misread Modi’s intention is completely unjustified.

    • Mr. Observor, please read Indo-China Agreement of 7th September, 1993. It pertains to “Agreement on maintenance if peace and tranquillity along the LAC in the India-China border areas.”. How does it prevent India in bifurcation the state of Jammu and Kashmir”? How does converting Ladakh into a Union Territory change the status quo on the LAC on Ladakh? In fact, it is a China who has blatantly violated the said agreement. Aksai Chin has always been a bone of contention between China and India. William Johnson, a civil servant in Survey of India, proposed Johnson Line which included Aksai Chin in Kashmir. The erstwhile British Government as well as independent Indian government always considered Aksai Chin as part of Kashmir. In the 1950s China forcibly and illegitimately acquired Tibet and built roads in Aksai Chin and possessed it without any authority. The Indian government was to weak to resist. However, it doesn’t mean that we have surrendered our claim on Aksai Chin. In 1960 the Chinese premier, Zhou Enlai unofficially suggested that India forgo its claim on Aksai Chin in return of China withdrawing its claim on NEFA (Arunachal Pradesh) . This was not acceptable to Nehru or to any other succeeding prime minister. Amit Shah has merely reiterated India’s consistence stand on Aksai Chin.

      • Britain was a colonial power so China may or may not accept the views of a colonial power.Quoting the views of an erstwhile colonial power may or may not be acceptable to China or India. Nobody says that India has surrendered its claim to Aksai Chin but nobody can deny that India accepted the United Nation’s resolution which left the final settlement of Kashmir’s status to a UN mandated plebiscite.If India always considered Aksai Chin and Ladakh as part of India then instead of accepting the UN resolution it should have clearly stated that as far as Ladakh and Aksai Chin are concerned it refuses to accept the UN resolution because it has always considered Ladakh and Aksai Chin a part of India. The actual fact is that India claims that with the passage of time the UN resolutions have become outdated and now after their becoming outdated it now considers Aksai Chin and Ladakh a part of India. There is no way India could both accept Ladakh and Aksai Chin as part of India and simultaneously accept UN resolutions mandating that their status be determined by plebiscite. In logic two plus two can only be four.It can not be three or five.

  39. A polarised electorate might be good for a party. But a divided population is dangerous for a nation.

    Well written Gupta ji, it’s about time we start putting nation above party

    • Lol divided? 80% of the country is Hindu, the Arabic religious followers should know that this country is essentially Dharmic not your middle east one. If you are worry about country? Why not leave your Arabi religion adopt local dharmic one, everything will be okay

      • If you read the history most of the current population of India, migrated to this land at some point of time, exception may some tribal population.

      • What about vasudaiva kutumbakam. By that tenet, world should all be the faith of the majority which is christian !!!

        Basically religion is passe. Most of the educated world including india is actually near-religionless. Meaning hindus, christians, muslims actually dont strictly observe there religion. De-linking politics and religion is only civil.

  40. I will ask some questions to Mr. Shekhar Gupta —Tell us whether India of 2020 is better or worst prepared to face China or Pakistan ? What level of diplomatic advantage China has over India of 2020 during this episode of incursions ? How many, even client states of China , except Pakistan , have come out to support China against India ? Dear sir , There is limit to run disinformation campaign . For this readers don t need to come web portal like ThePrint. For this RG s tweets and several timed edited, reedited , re-re edited Videos are enough for us to read/ watch political comedy .

    • 1. Pak didn’t came out to support China…not a single statement this time.

      2. This is bcz the bully doesn’t need or want support. We are not the biggie so we need support & not them.

      3. One track mind is a bad asset. Improve thyself.

  41. Finally some criticism from SG sir directed right at Modi. I know the print wants to position itself as an unbiased media outlet but that can’t come at cost of the truth. If the truth seems to be biased so be it, calling a spade, a spade is always the best policy in the long run. That being said, the print is still the only outlet I trust to consume information from. Really appreciate the work done by SG sir.

  42. Modi has turned out to be a total flop where his policies local or international are concerned,, his arrogance and lack of knowledge and initiatives have gone wrong as he has a tendency to listen to no one,, his lies will become his downfall

    • it is not just about Modi, he said for the past 30 years or so. just dont choose the statements that suits you and make judgements….

  43. Weak economic policies, disinclination to initiate major economic reforms, stagnant exports and slowed growth ( which may now go into the red zone) – these are the reasons for India’s declining global influence. Mr. Shekhar Gupta, you had rightly concluded in one of your articles that India’s international reputation hinges vitally on its ability to record 8% GDP growth annually. Now, the slogan of a 3 trillion dollar economy appears as a sad illusion. Forget China, even Bangladesh and Vietnam are doing better than India. Relying on slogans and alliterations and substituting concrete international diplomacy with meaningless and ineffective event management are also negatives. India’s China policy will now be subject to critical evaluation. But on the plus side, one must credit Modi for defiantly refusing to join China’s Road & Belt initiative. China sees India as a stumbling block in its desire to dominate Asia. This is the root cause of the recent border stand off. After the electoral victory of 2019, Modi should have initiated bold economic reforms. Instead, he rushed into divisive politics of CAA, abolition of Article 370 etc. Internally, these may have pleased an influential section of the populace and enhanced Modi’s image, but ground realities in J&K and Ladakh remained unchanged, so also the deteriorating economic scenario. Then came COVID-19. This has altered national priorities totally. How has Modi handled the Covid pandemic? The judgement on this remains undecided. Year 2019-20 amounts to wasted opportunities and unprecedented calamities. The minuses overweigh pluses, so far, in Modi-II era.

  44. Shekhar Jee,

    Balanced article. Agreed with you all along except last couple of paras. You have analysed everything perfectly well but have made no comments on the money power of China in relation to us. When and how did China become five times us?

    And which country does not side with a bigger economy? A bigger military power? Please enlighten why BD will prefer us over China. If hindu politics is the reason for our loss of BD, why did we not wean Nepal??

    • Possibly because Nepalese Hindus are largely uninfluenced by Hindutva venom of Nagpur variety. Remember inspite of being a Hindu majority country they change their constitution recently to declare itself a secular country; while in India a vast majority of Hindus are behaving, talking in a manner, as if India has already become a Hindu country regardless of whatever the constitution suggests.

  45. The RSS and BJP do not have an idea of India. Except Muslim bashing and Nehru hatred. Power was given to them on a platter. They just do not know what makes you powerful among the nations. It is planning. So Modi removed the Planning commission. It is education. Modi and the RSS have condemned modern education. It is R&D. Modi and RSS have dedicated R&D towards finding finding Saraswati river and nothing else. The correct and only aim should be to increase the per capita of Indians in dollar terms. For which they have done nothing in the last six years.

    • Well observed. But to understand and appreciate the value of National planning, education, R&D etc. one needs educated minds. The present dispension have very few educated people in position of any real power. The couple of men/women with credible degrees to their name are there only for cosmetic purposes, for example, Nirmala Sitharaman and S Jaishankar. Likes of Smriti Iranis yields more influence in the corridors of power.

    • Well said. Few more can be added.
      They have redifined a Hindu!
      Who is a good Hindu?
      Not one who can deliberate about Hindu Philosophy or Adi Shankaracharya’s advait Or Dualism. A good Hindu according to BJP is one who indulges in abusive language, who trolls with absolute hatred and who distorts truth unabashedly.

  46. Fair enough. However, a period of 6 years may be good enough for bringing electricity to all villages or build over-bridges at all railway crossings but is woefully insufficient to transform the strategic defense poverty – that too when the extremely partisan opposition almost succeeded to invent a corruption perception in the most prominent defense deal of his tenure. I believe the Government realizes the seriousness of imbalance and is on track. About China, I agree with your assessment but you have the advantage of hindsight now to validate enough your hypothesis with present Chinese behavior. I am sure that now Modi too will share your observations about China. But at the time when a Prime Minister takes the lead-initiative, there will be multiple variables. That is why Modi’s friendly approach to China was not a bad thing to start with. in ‘hindsight’ (!) now, it also proves our good intentions.

    • Now if we elect another PM in 2024, should he try hand of friendship again with china as part of his outreach ??

      Modi could have done well to study and seek advice from his predecessor MMS. Didn’t MMS manage similar situations without losing a soldier.

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