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East Asia

China-India Standoff & The Emerging World Order

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The Recent showdown between  People’s Liberation Army and Indian Army has escalated the situation in Galwan valley along the  Line of Actual Control  (LAC) Between China and India. The unarmed fight resulted in the killing of 20 Indian Soldiers while the casualties on China side have not been confirmed yet.

The analysts link the fight with Indian Unilateral move on August 05 2019, when it annexed the disputed territory of  Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh by repealing article 370. 

This move irked both Pakistan and china and both raised the issue at UNSC and UNGA and recorded their protest against such unilateral move that was tantamount to UN Security Council Resolutions that asked for holding a plebiscite in disputed  Jammu and Kashmir. 

Unfortunately, India has worst diplomatic relations with its neighbours such as Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It has used all its resources to destabilize neighbouring states especially Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and  Sri Lanka. 

The recent clash has serious repercussion after 40  years when both Nations clashed in 1962. The war clouds are looming as both Nations are preparing to engage in a full-scale war that might be disastrous for the whole region. So much so that  UK  Newspapers called it World War –III as two biggest South Asian Countries engaged in fighting that was a heavy blow to Fascist Modi who is the mastermind of Muslim Massacre and Genocide. 

Even linked  Covid-19 outbreak with Muslims, that showed his Hindutva mindset and stupidity. The Indian reaction to boycott Chinese Brands will cost the heavily economically as world economies are already fragile owing to two-month lockdown that has paralyzed the business and Trade and limited people to their houses.

Pakistan has been watching the emerging situation after  June 15 Clash between Chinese PLA and Indian Army, is ready to defend its frontiers as Forces put on Red Alert.

The high-level negotiations were held to deescalate the situation but all efforts of peacemaking have not produced positive results and Modi’s BJP is underfire internally since Congress has been posing hard questions as Chinese forces are present in areas claimed by India.

There are protests in Nepal against India as new released Map has reflected some disputed areas in India that have also sparked protests in Nepal. Though India still enjoys support from the US especially from President Donald Trump he is himself under pressure from Republicans owing to his failure to manage the pandemic and the cases are soaring each day.

America is worst affected by the pandemic with the maximum number of infections and deaths over one lac. India has also close relations with Israel and has purchased fighter jets and other war-related items.

The recent mysterious bomb blasts targeting Iran’s Nuclear Installations and army camps have raised serious questions on the state of Iran’s internal l security measures as well as it let everybody wondering that who was behind the attacks but Iran has blamed Israel for the blasts.

Though none has accepted the responsibility of attacks, Iran has alleged Israel as Israel is the soul of the US and may be involved in a bombing incident.

The conflict will expand in the Middle East and South Asia if Iran takes aggressive action against Israel and on the other hand  If China and India engage in a full-scale war. 

The situation is getting tougher and complicated day by as US has been struggling to tackle with the pandemic issue that has infected millions of American baffling  US President Donald to the extent that It power game is waning each passing day and Global influence is declining due to economic crisis and massive unemployment owing to the pandemic.

The pandemic has forced hundreds of companies to lay off staff as they could not afford to pay the salaries of Staff given the lockdowns imposed by various Governments in the world as well as the sense of uncertainty gripping the enterprises and startups.

Though the health companies, Pharma and Tech companies, online stores and markets are booming with profit the most profitable business, travel and Tour, entertainment and Hotel Business and wedding Party and Even management Companies have almost been closed for an indefinite period owing to the restrictions placed by the Governments to control the outbreak of Covid-19.

US being superpower has been weakened or jolted by the pandemic and gradually losing its hold on world Affairs. On the contrary, China has been regaining the control and even declared itself superpower of the world. The World order is constantly changing and china has put itself in a strong geostrategic position even in the time of Pandemic.

Recent China and Iran Pact have further paved the for the success of CPEC since  Iran may join CPEC to make its oil available to China, Pakistan and  Central Asian Muslim Countries.

 The inclusion of Iran in CPEC may further Isolate  India in the region since it will be surrounded by all sides i.e. China, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. Pakistan may play a leading role in the region since America has lost a sincere ally in South Asia.

Pakistan Army and Civilian Leadership played a pivotal role peacemaking in Afghanistan by bringing the Taliban on the negotiation table and signing the deal with the US providing safe passage to US Troops Withdrawal.

Turkey also emerging great power and may have a role in changing world order where US, UK may fade in history books as some international Policy Experts are of the view that Pandemic has provided a golden chance to countries like China to play a leading role as American hegemony has bitten the dust.

The upcoming  Presidential Elections will carve the future of America as Trump Administration has completely failed to manage and control Covid-19 and even put curbs on new Testing  Policy which is already under fire from his  Rival  Political  Party the  Democrats, especially the  Presidential Election Nominee  Joe Biden.

The November is just two months away and these  Presidential Elections will be both violent and historical since the African American will support Democrats as they are fed up with Trump over racist thoughts especially brutal Killing of  African American George Floyd that prompted worldwide  Protests against racism and Police  Brutalities. 

The  Recent deal between Israel and UAE inked with efforts  Donald Trump has irked both Arab and  Non Arab Nations as recognition of  Israel will have serious repercussions on the Muslim world. 

 Efforts are being made by Turkey, Iran, Pakistan to form a new  Block as Since  Independence  Pakistan has clear Policy that it will never recognize Israel until Establishment of  Palestine  State as per the wishes of  People of  Palestine.  

Pakistan is the only Islamic country in the world that has reflected on its Passport that it is valid for all countries except Israel sending a strong message that It will never recognize Israel as it is an occupant.

Though at the moment, Pakistan is under pressure from the US  to recognize Israel this will not happen any time soon. The statement of  Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood  Qureshi has escalated  Pak Saudi diplomatic relations as Qureshi criticized that  OIC has not adopted the strong stance on Kashmir Issue. Though  Army Chief along with ISI chief paid a visit to Saudi Arab to mend ways but Pakistan’s weak economic structure will compel it to bow down before Pressure.

China is playing on the front foot as it’s expedition inside  Indian Controlled areas is advancing rapidly the escalation is high. The weakened structure of the US has given birth to new regional powers carving new world order as the US is waning due to wrong policies of  Donald. The emerging situation is favouring China, Russia, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan.

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East Asia

Time to play the Taiwan card

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At a time when the dragon is breathing fire, India must explore alternative tactics, perhaps establishment of formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan can be a landmark step

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The standoff on the Ladakh border between the Indian Army and the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) continues amid failing talks and casus belli measures being unleashed by the Chinese regime. While the union government and the armed forces make it clear that they will do whatever it takes to protect India’s sovereignty and integrity, precious little has been done on the foreign policy front. While India and its democratic allies which comprise the Quad security grouping declare their intent to form the ‘Asian NATO’, the Quad continues to suffer from indecisiveness which was pretty much evident when the Quad did not even issue a joint statement to condemn China at the foreign ministers meeting held last year, only America publicly called out China.

In such a situation, it is imperative that India explore alternate diplomatic and militaristic routes to tame the dragon.

Recognizing Taiwan

Establishing formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan after recognizing should be vigorously pursuing by South Block. Indo-Taiwan ties date back to the early 1950s when Chiang Kai Shek, the ex Chinese president and former head of state fled to the island of Formosa following the victory of Mao Zedong in the long drawn out Chinese civil war called on Nehru to establish and further ties with Formosa, however Nehru believing that Chiang was nothing but a “peanut” decided to ignore his call, choosing instead to concentrate on building ties with People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Seven decades on, plethora of changes has taken place on the foreign affairs front, while both China and India have developed considerably both militarily and economically the dragon has surpassed elephant to become an economic powerhouse in its own might. It has now embraced aggressiveness to enforce its 5th century vision of the ‘Middle Kingdom’. In such a situation providing legitimacy to the existence of Taiwan is a necessary first step.

Paradigm shift in policy

Establishing formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan will bring about a paradigm shift vis-à-vis India’s foreign policy. It will enforce the idea that liberal democracy is the last word in the battle of ideologies as Francis Fukuyama had visualized in his landmark book ‘The End of History and the Last Man’ and that there is no alternative to human rights and liberties, not even the Chinese model of ‘authoritarian development’. It will be the boldest step that any global leader has taken, not even the mighty US which has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan has taken this step.

Recognizing Taiwan will entail a lot of benefits for the mandarins of India’s foreign policy regime- firstly, Taiwan is a robust democracy with a booming economy, it will prove to be an alternative to China albeit in a relatively less proportion, secondly, India can bolster the legitimacy as the leader of the democratic world at a time when the democratic institutions in the US-often regarded as the cradle of democracy has been undermined.

Thirdly, India can get the support of another powerful ally in its attempt to carve out a new supply chain alliance which India-Japan-Australia formalized recently. Fourthly, recognizing Taiwan will make it clear to China that India means some serious business and if the need arises then India will not back down from sending dedicated naval and air assets in the disputed South China Sea region to enforce freedom of navigation principle in the resource rich region. Lastly, the Quad security grouping will be institutionalized which in the near future can even be extended to include new members, it will be the first time that India will be a part of any dedicated military and economic alliance which will deter the aggression of the Chinese war machine in the strategic Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific Region.

Caveats remain

However the recognition may invite severe ramifications for India. China will be infuriated and can choose to ratchet up tensions with India. India must be extremely careful while dealing with China as China is our second largest bilateral trade partner and a key export partner of India with regard to raw materials and goods. According to a FICCI report, India imports more than 40% of several important goods like the API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients), television, chemicals, chips, textiles and many more.

The dragon will as a possible retaliatory measure can activate its propaganda machinery to wage psychological warfare with India. It can also activate its terror financing networks which for years remained a chronic internal security for India in the northeast of the country. China will also collaborate with its ‘iron brother’ Pakistan to try and deter India by intensifying terrorism in the Kashmir valley and elsewhere. Further, China can use its potent disinformation empire to try and peddle fake news about the credibility of India’s indigenous vaccines at a time when the light at the end of the tunnel of a pandemic stricken world has appeared.

Exercising caution

Keeping all the dangers in mind, the Modi government must keep national interests in mind. Despite all the risks, it must work with all the like- minded countries to take own the mighty dragon responsible for unleashing a deadly virus which has wrecked havoc on humanity. For the sake of the free world, India must take the hard step which will reinforce India’s position in cementing its place as the leader of the free world.

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Pro-Communism warping Hong Kong

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The latest turmoil in the Covid-ridden strata of mainland China is not servile to any pandemic, however, the issue has been one of the most queer and rare kinds, enough to be classified as one of the endemic issues in the global affairs. The tension at helm is the chaos following the announcement of a “New Security Law” by the Chinese regime which is being eyed as one of the monumental events of this decade; slicing off a sliver of attention from the deadly Corona virus that continues to exponentiate around the world in its second wave and sporadic variants.

The law that set out by the Chinese lawmakers back on 22nd May 2020, threatens the liberties of subversion and sedition enjoyed by the citizens of Hong Kong under a constitution. Simplistically named “Basic Law”, it aims to tame the country scaffolded by the “One country, Two systems” framework since the power handover by the former colony to China back in 1997. This act came around amidst strained economic relations between the two superpowers of the world; China and USA, each passing the baton in the blame game of who sustains the blood-crown of the catastrophe impending on the world courtesy of the lethal virus that engulfs every periphery in each continent on the globe. The matters seem complex at sight and a glimpse to the historical timeline of how riddled the relations were could hint at how strained they could reach.

The colony, known as ‘Hong Kong’ today, had been the battle ground, figuratively, to the major competitors of the 20th century: The Great Britain and China. The British dominated the colony for more than 150 years, tracing back to the late 19th century; leasing the territory for the span to morph it into the modernised metropolis marking it as the hub we know today. In 1997, an agreement was reached via an accord, ‘The Sino-British Joint Declaration‘ between the two sides. The treaty allowed Hong Kong a semi-autonomous status, that is, relaying self-sufficiency in all the national domains except in defence and foreign affairs. The allotted autonomy arches under the sovereignty of China until year 2047, henceforward melding into the mainland China as harkened by the Chinese hegemony over decades.

Despite of the granted protection of Hong Kong’s own legislation, borders and freedom of speech, the liberties have been trampled on by the Chinese government over the last couple of decades. A similar law abolishing the right to sedition was initiated in 2003 yet mass protests calling out up and about 50,000 citizens impeded the efforts that went futile and drastically ended up being shunned for good. The Communist party under the wings of Chinese president Xi Jinping have expounded further in tightening their talons on the city since 2012 as efforts were made to corrode the educational system of the country via meddling with the curriculum, biasing the foundation to hail Chinese communism. These acts were proactive reactions to the advances of the United States forging relations with the city. China even tried to manipulate the elections in 2014, tampering with the selection their Chief Executive leading to a 3-month long protest known as the ‘Umbrella movement’ and ultimate downfall of Hong Kong’s autonomous political system.

The security law falls in tandem to the events of 2019; the legislation allowing the convicts from Hong Kong to be extradited in China causing a rave of fear of a massive tactical crackdown of the Anti-communist activists of Hong Kong, sighting it just as ruse to underwhelm the right of sedition of the people of Hong Kong. The Law passed by the parliament notions to only one thing; The ultimate end to Hong Kong. The lawmakers in China, hailing from the National People’s Congress (NPC), sight this move as extricating a threat to the national security and stability of the country while many of the pro-activists in Hong Kong deem the law as betrayal, accusing China of walking back on its promise of high-degree autonomy and freedom of speech, marking it as the final straw, the last struggle before the country could override the laws in the city and indirectly, transition from the entity holding the right to veto the laws to now gripping the law altogether.

Despite of the speculated protests to spark like the history dictates, many of the sage minds predict either a relatively dormant demonstrations or none at all, having a tint of finality in the statement shote the protests are “high stake in risk and repression”. The recent arrest of the leading activists of Hong Kong standing up to voice their disdain to the separatist efforts of China further solidify the notion. Despite of a global condemnation to the new law, the efforts of China resume to subdue any opposition in Honk Kong no matter how sparse. Foreseeing no way out for Hong Kong this time; the Covid-19 paralysis the United States in its own crisis and the legislature inclining towards the Chinese pressure, a complete erasure of Hong Kong is sighted and could not be restrained- for better or for worse.

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East Asia

The Belligerent Chinese Diplomacy and Its Failure

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The Chinese media has recently reported of Xi Jinping writing a letter to George Schultz the former chairman of Starbucks, the US coffee giant. In the letter, he has requested Schultz to play a positive role in advancing the US-China relations. While head of a major state writing letter to big corporate heads is not a common but not an unusual development either, this letter from Jinping should be seen in a relevant context. It indicates a certain amount of desperation and difficulty of China in its dealings with the US.

It suggests that after months of aggressive posturing and verbal duels against Trump, the State Department and Pentagon, China is now cosying up to the new Joe Biden administration. Further, it also means the recent Chinese aggressive posturing, wolf diplomacy has failed to bring in the desired results and that the Xi Jinping-led CCP is under more pressure now to soft-pedal the recent acrimonious ties between the two.

The year 2020 had been a very disappointing and calamitous year for the world. And Corona pandemic could well be cited as the most important reason. While the world as a whole has struggled to fight this unknown enemy individually as well as collectively, one country that has been in the limelight, for all the wrong reasons, been China.

Foreign policy and diplomacy is all about protecting and promoting the perceived national interests of a country. While achieving its objectives, the country tries to create and maintain a favourable image in the international community. The Chinese diplomatic endeavour since the ascension of Xi Jinping has been starkly opposite. From the most likely origin of Corona virus, to rebuking leaders, diplomats and media of other countries, China has been trying to create a new diplomatic norm, a new normal where none of the countries would dare criticising China, through political discourse, media or any other way while silently acceding to its territorial expansionary designs.

There  have  been  unusually  vitriolic  reactions  by  Chinese  diplomats against seemingly innocuous comments or actions by governments, politicians, diplomats  or  media  in  various  countries.  A  very  rational  request  by  the Australian government to initiate investigations by the international community into the genesis of Corona virus, made China so furious that apart from making crude undiplomatic comments, it even created a virtual political, diplomatic and trade war against the country. Critical comment by certain politicians in Brazil and Japan, led Chinese diplomats to publicly issue personalised attacks against them.

The Chinese ambassador to Sweden has went on to lambast the country’s media in most rustic manner. No wonder, in the last two years, he has been summoned to the Swedish foreign ministry an unprecedented 40 times and there have been demands from native politicians for his expulsion. In India, a country that is being seen as the closest political and military rival by China but is scared of admitting it publicly, the diplomats have kept on reminding the government and media not to play the so-called Tibet card or must adhere to One-China policy by not getting close to Taiwan, have repeatedly been ignored by the government as well as the media.

No wonder, a recent Pew Research study has revealed that globally China has lost a huge amount of goodwill. A significantly very high majority of natives in nine of the advanced economies like the US, UK, Germany, Australia, South Korea, Sweden, Netherlands think negatively of  China. Australia (81%), UK (74%), Sweden (85%), Netherlands (73%) show a very high increase in the negative perception against China, very recently and that has affected their politico-commercial relations too.

With the US, the Trump administration acting aggressively in the backdrop of the November Presidential elections, the Chinese actions of challenging the lone superpower has not helped the country anyway. On the contrary, US has become more supportive of Taiwan, politically as well as militarily, making it even more difficult or virtually impossible to China to even think  of  occupying  the  territory  forcibly  in  near  future.  India  that  had maintained a cautious approach towards Taiwan till recently, have started enhancing political and commercial relations with the country.

In Asia, its aggressive military designs against India’s northern borders has had a very rude awakening for China. Used to a timid Indian approach since 1950s under Nehru, it never expected the aggressive Indian response that even put its own military positions in Moldo and other strategic positions vulnerable. To further undermine political and military calculations, its adversaries in South China seas like Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines today are in advance negotiations with India to secure sophisticated missiles and armaments.

A very significant strategic development in the form of QUAD has taken the preliminary shape and that whenever gets in a concrete form, could well portend an ominous future for China, politically and militarily. The belligerent Chinese behaviour, especially since the onset of Corona virus has brought India, Australia, the US and Japan very close. With talks of Vietnam, Philippines and others in south-east Asia joining it later, the future of a QUAD could well be a security nightmare for China.

In the economic realm, India has reacted sharply too. Being a huge market for Chinese cheap goods and scores of apps till recently, India has not only banished  hundreds  of  apps  but  has  also  been  working  on  a  mechanism  to regulate, control and even stop imports in a number of segments from China. A big share of enormous infrastructural contracts in telecommunications, roads, ports, airports and railways in India too, have become difficult for Chinese companies. And taking a leaf out of India, the US and other countries too, are making it difficult for Chinese organisations to secure big contracts in their respective countries.

Over the next few years, China is going to lose a huge chunk of its popular and big market in India while territorially too, it has failed to make any significant gains.  Strategically what China  wished to see was  countries like Japan, India, Australia, Vietnam, US all having disputes with it dealing individually  rather  than  getting  together  and  forming  a  coordinated  and collective political, economic and strategic response against it.  And the very opposite has happened. There have been greater and collective political, military and economic coordination amongst all these countries today and most of the strategies are aimed against one country, China.

All these developments including Xi’s letter to Schultz, indicate one point very  certainly  that  Chinese  belligerence  has  backfired  hugely.  It  needs  to reorient its diplomacy and political behaviour significantly and if it fails to do so, its position in the emerging post-Covid geopolitical order could be anything but that of an emerging superpower.

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