File photo | Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Congress President Rahul Gandhi at Parliament House | PTI
File photo | Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Congress President Rahul Gandhi at Parliament House | PTI
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s all-party meeting on the Ladakh stand-off with opposition leaders last week went more or less on predicted lines. While there was a show of solidarity at the meeting, a lot of muck has been thrown by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress at each other since, be it in TV debates or through statements in the media. The political discourse in India cannot be allowed to descend to the level of one-upmanship between the country’s two major national parties. Saner elements in both camps will have to bury the hatchet and work as a team to forge a new strategy not only to tide over the current crisis but also to face possible challenges in the future, especially as China is unlikely to back down.

It is a great relief that India’s entire political establishment has so far spoken in one voice. Except when Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury dug out the hackneyed Panchsheel and asked the Modi government to “strictly” follow it. Perhaps the CPI(M) should try to use its influence to give the Chinese leadership a few lessons on Panchsheel. The ‘five principles of peaceful coexistence’ that India and China signed in 1954, four years after the Chinese annexation of Tibet, is as irrelevant today as the Communist parties. 

Adhering to the idea of Panchsheel unilaterally notwithstanding, 1962 dealt a severe blow to India’s image, strategy, soft power approach, and unwrapped the border issue with a new map. Three years later, we had a hostile China breathing down our neck and an aggressive Pakistan waging a war against us. But just six years after that, a strong and determined leadership under then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi broke the back of Pakistan, consigned the ‘two-nation theory’ to the dustbin of history, and sent strong signals to China and the US right in the middle of the Cold War. But the dreaded Emergency, declared on 25 June 1975, became Indira Gandhi’s undoing, derailing what could have been a great strategy to catapult India on to the centre stage of global politics.


Also read: China playing victim after attacking Indian soldiers at Galwan. Delhi must not fall for it


China’s not-so-peaceful rise

The next 20 years witnessed the Cold War reaching a crescendo and suddenly ending with the disintegration of the erstwhile USSR. Twenty years later, Russia was passé. China, the new power on the block, began unveiling its regional and global strategy. Speaking at the Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan, in 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, “We do not seek to dominate regional affairs or establish any sphere of influence. We stand ready to enhance communication with Russia and all central Asian countries to strive to build a region of harmony.” Since then, China has created a sphere of strong influence in the region encircling India, and its rise has been far from harmonious.

Nearly three decades later, both India and China are again at the place where they began their journeys. On the one hand, the standoff that surfaced in Ladakh region is showing no sign of resolution. On the other hand, unconfirmed claims of massive military build-up on both sides of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) suggest that the standoff is likely to linger on for the next few months. Just as people are being advised to learn to live with the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, India will have to learn to live with the Chinese threatening the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and its aftermath as well. But India isn’t alone. In the wake of the pandemic, Beijing’s hegemonic approach seems to be afflicting several other countries, belying the façade of ‘China’s peaceful rise’.

China’s much touted ‘peaceful rise’ was supported on two legs — military modernisation and economic clout, giving Beijing all authority and no responsibility. China’s internal assessment about its future strategy is a continuation of its centuries-old core beliefs. The Chou Empire Zhonghua, the Middle Kingdom, established in the northern plains of China, truly believed that it was at the centre of the earth, ordained by the gods to vanquish the barbarians all around. When Mao Zedong stormed into the citadel of power in 1949 with his Communist warriors, China once again became Zhonghua renmin gongheguo (middle kingdom people’s republic), or People’s Republic of China.

1 Yuan Chinese coin minted in 1994. The inscription reads: ‘Zhonghua renmin gongheguo’

Also read: 70 yrs on, India’s Tibet dilemma remains. But 4 ways Modi can achieve what Nehru couldn’t


China’s time is over

Modern China under the all-powerful Xi Jinping believes that Beijing is the centre of universal power structure and the Communist Party of China (CCP) written in capitalist characters is predestined to preside over the world. Beijing is using the modernised People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which is armed to the teeth, as an offensive and defensive force at a critical juncture when national security issues facing China encompass far more areas, and covering a longer time span than any other era in the past.

The moneybags in the CCP have heavily invested in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects that were supposed to yield rich dividends in terms of return on investments as well as get a strategic foothold in coveted positions in 60-odd countries.

But the Covid-19 has poured cold water over all these calculations, military and economic. The rise of China is not a given and certainly not going to reach the destination that Beijing wants to. The ascendency of China may witness greater hurdles and the strong domestic undercurrents may spoil the fun for the new artificial republic, Zhonghua, made up of multiple cultures and ethnicities.

But that doesn’t make China and its ambitions any less of a threat to India and its sphere of influence. Which is why India must stand together and plan for the longer term, not just the election years.

The author is a member of the National Executive Committee of the BJP and former editor of Organiser. Views are personal.

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34 Comments Share Your Views

34 COMMENTS

  1. As an Indian I am SADDENED at the turn of the events. China seems to be TOYING with us. It is not only doing a build up, but mauling, linching our brave soldiers who come from poor background and volunteer to die for our country. How has Narendra Modi brought us to such a pass? Now Mr Chari is saying that the BJP and the Congress should work in unison. I absolutely agree. But these are the people, Mr Chari’s fraternity, the BJP and the RSS, the current BJP of Modi-Shah in particular, who have never spared even half a chance to vomit poison on the Congress and Nehru in particular. How will BJP – Congress come together only Mr Chari can explain or attempt.

  2. BJP is a party while Congress is a family enterprise.

    This family enterprise with recent revelations had confirmed what bharat knew all along.

    Surrendering s sovereignty to dragon, accepting dragon funds to wipe out small businesses, usurping public money meant for relief into family trust and above all being 21st century Mir Jafar.

    Bharat has 4 fronts to fight now.

    Dragon on east, second class Arabs on west Jihadis and Mir Jafars internally.

    With history as testament we will finish each of these enemies this the decisively as each bhartiya is waking up.

  3. First thing first,why it took 7 years to disclose funds received by RGF from China. Was the govt was waiting for China to attack so that they can attack Gandhi family. Chariji is right both should fight China not among themselves.

  4. BJP has historic mandate from people of India not once but twice. Don’t worry BJP did not Congress earlier so question of Congress now does not arise. Just do what is best for the country.

  5. Not only China’s time is over, it is Congress time is over too.
    Its treachery at this crucial juncture will never be pardoned.

  6. There are obvious differences between India and China. China as a nation and in spite of any political system, has a clear nationalist vision and goals whereas India has hardly any except to be a true democracy! We keep wasting time and resources on winning political power and after being in power, on retaining it and fighting with the tactical issues. A country like Pakistan, after a total rout of 1971, moved smartly and over the years, managed to bring us to our knees by courting terrorism, USA and China, whatever be the consequences to its people. India, after 1962 whack but 1971 stunning victory, could have finished off Kashmir issue and secured our northern border effectively, pending its final resolution. We muddle through all the time. We deserve to be where we are today! Modi is a welcome change and hopefully, he will succeed in managing China, as he is doing with Pakistan.

  7. I’m wondering what would be India’s or Indian’s attitude towards China if the roles were reversed.

    If India was wealthy and strong like China, China poor and weak like India, India would have attacked Chinese borders to “reclaim” the disputed territories, the Tibetan regions and Pakistan.

  8. Mr. Chari should look at India’s position. Indians, specifically Hindus of his ilk claimed India was a Hindu superpower. It never was. Xi exposed that. We saw Modi’s pathetic announcement. Now Hindus like him want alliance with US, Quad etc. – just like Philippines seeking protection. China is in a position to take on the US as the US is in debt to China to the tune of 16 trillion.

    It is better for Hindus like him to look at the precarious position that they have landed India in : they divided Indians with caste and communalism; they shattered the economy; they were unprepared for Covid; they made enemies with all neighbours; and finally China gave a beating, took land, and the Hindus surrendered meekly.

  9. So the Rajiv Gandhi Family trust scandal taints the “First Family”. Why are the Congress bigwigs silent now? Nobody is coming out to defend MadamG & PappuG? Normally these spokespersons are so vocal & suave. Where are Sashi Tharoor, Manish Tiwari et al?
    Running scared?

  10. China’s time is yet to come. India’s promise is over – due to Modi. He shattered the growing economy, engaged in fighting students and women, was unprepared for Covid and China.

    Why is a RSS man writing here ? The RSS has only contributed to dividing and thereby weakening India and causing partition.

    Bhagwat said he could mobilise his forces within 3 days. Why have they not been sent to the front ?

    India will not be able to fight China not only because of a weak economy, but because the army’s morale is low. The composition of the army has changed. Now it is dominated by banias and Brahmins. Such people will not be able to fight the Mongoloid race. India needs to change the composition of the army : it should have 10% Sikhs, 30% Muslims, 10% Gorkhas. Only these three communities can fight fearlessly.

  11. Off course national interest is of utmost priority for all Indians and Indians always stood as one nation at such time of hostilities from outside, be it from China or Pakistan for that matter. The problem with BJP is once our solders secure what they are supposed to, they will use it as the “main” thing in any election which comes after it. They will position themselves as the savior and without them the country is going to to to the dogs. I am a centrist thinking man and recall how Indira Ghandhi declared the formation of the new country called Bangladesh. It was a solemn proclamation and no drama, no fuss!. Just put Modi in that place, OMG we cant imagine what that proclamation would sound like !!! So I think Congress is vary of the fact that BJP would raise this issue in every election after that for their favour, but at the same time they cannot stay aside without supporting the govt. in this crucial juncture. Being said that all parties should stay clear of rhetoric and washing dirty laundry. World is watching our leaders. One more thing: it is the PM’s declaration with theatrics after the all party meeting is laughable and was the main reason for all this uproar.

    • There is no issue for BJP Hindus about PM’s feeble capitulation. According to them, Modi always becomes stronger after criticism. For them ‘surrender Modi’ is ‘victorious Modi’. Modi’s primacy is more important than India itself.

      You need to understand the psycohology of the BJP Hindus. Modi is like a godman, like Baba Asaram. When evidence is presented that the godman is a rapist, the followers go into furious denial. The response of BJP Hindus is the same on their godman Modi – they attack Congress and media bitterly, and blame them for the debacle.

      According to this RSS writer, China’s prime is over, and India just has to bide its time. That is the best he can think out.

      The BJP Hindus say Modi has a secret plan, which he will reveal at a fit time. He will give China a reply when they do not expect it.

  12. I sometimes glance at Republic and Times Now. Am struck by the narrative they create. It is as if the Congress, led by the Gandhi family, has intruded into the Galvan Valley, the Fingers, the Depsang plains. A very childish portrayal of serious events in the life of a nation. Odd way to forge national solidarity and unity in a time of war. They are obviously being given a written script and reading from it.

  13. The best outcome for India would be for the few remaining sensible Congress leaders to leave that corrupt organization, form a new party and loosely align themselves wirh BJP.
    There are many capable men and women in Congress whose thinking is broadly aligned with BJP.

  14. Instead of backing the government and country, Rahul Gandhi is playing dirty politics and this harms the image of country at global level. He is so immature and even impatient to acknowledge and deal the matter. Indeed India need strong opposition but we are so unfortunate that we have Pappu..

    • The same applies to India. The BJP has brought break up closer with rampant Hindu communalism, persecution of minorities, CAA-NRC, Article 370, and enmity between nations. The RSS was responsible for creating the enmity between Hindus and Muslims in the 1920s and 1930s that led to partition. They continue in the same vein. Hence, the logical outcome is further break up. Differences become unmanageable when intolerance dominates, and groups with dictatorial mindset take over.

    • There is a very peculiar thing about China mentioned David Reich in his book “Who We Are and How We Got Here”.According to Reich “People tend to think of India..as having a tremendously large population…But genetically this is an incorrect way way to view the situation.The Han Chinese are truly a large population.In contrast, There are few if any Indian groups that are demographically large..The truth is that India is composed of a large number of small populations.” The countries of the Middle East,the Indian subcontinent and USSR came into existence as a result of the two world wars and so will take time to reach equilibrium.China with a history of millennia and a homogeneous population is comparatively more stable.

  15. Any one especially any Indian who wants to understand the position of China in the contemporary world must read Part One of the book “Destined for War” by Graham Allison. It is especially important for a political leader for without a proper appreciation of China it is impossible to have a correct response to it. I hope Mr. Chari has read this book.. If not, I would request him to read it and then rethink the views expressed in this article. Without going into details I would like to reproduce what Lee Kuan Yew who was a friend of Allison and who according to Allison was “one of the first to see China’s true nature” told him about China .Lee said ” It is not possible to pretend that this is just another big player.This is the biggest player in the history of the world” (Page 6,Mariner Book Edition 2018).I need not add that Allison was a student and friend of Kissinger and has been an advisor to three US presidents Reagan ,Bush and Obama.

    • Indeed China is going to be the biggest player in the history of the world.

      It is also worth recalling what Kissinger said about India. He said India is the biggest unimportant country. That is even more valid today. The BJP Hindus elect a chai wallah with some shakha education and imagine he is going to make India a Hindu superpower. The results show he has done the opposite : he has collapsed India’s economy, he lived by dividing Indians for personal power, there was no planning for Covid, and China. Yet, Hindus vote for him and believe only he can find Hindus a place under the sun. Most Hindus today are delusional and unwilling to be objective. They blame Congress, media, minorities.

  16. Even without belt and road initiative, they started killing “HUMANITY” at large . May be their idea of own the world , by KILLING HUMANITY after BRI COMPLETION. imagine the plight of the HUMANITY AT LARGE with their BRI completion. IT SHUDDERS THROUGH THE SPINAL CORD.
    REMEMBER , THOUSANDS OF TOWNS AND CITIES IN CHINA WERE NOT AS MUCH AFFECTED AS LAKHS AND LAKHS OF TOWNS AND CITIES ACROSS THE WORLD. MILLIONS OF WORLD CITIZEN ARE SUFFERING BECAUSE OF THE BAD INTENTION OF CHINA.
    WHAT COULD HAPPEN AFTER BRI COMPLETION ???
    WORLD CITIZEN MUST THINK AT LEAST NOW ABOUT THE ” KILLER OF HUMANITY “

    • China actually lifted around 1.4 billion people from poverty. It’s easy to overlook or complain instead of competing

  17. BJP does not need any help from Congress since the Dynasty’s junior leader Rahul pappu gandhi always sucking up to both China and Pakistan.The MOU that Rahul and Sonia signd with China in 2008 agreement is not being disclosed.Congress took bribes by China. BJP will stand up to all aggression from China and Pakistan.

    • Lol if something that important exist, why can’t BJP disclose it even after 6 years? Afraid of China or RaGa? Next time ask questions at your shakha and be a smart student

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