Balkanizatio: Why Are Indians Afraid Of China?
  • Wed, 08/26/2009 - 12:00

Asian Tribune
Wed, 2009-08-26 02:15 — editor
By J. N. Raina - Syndicate Features

Massive cobwebs have developed in the already bedevilled relationship between India and China. The Dragon’s hegemonic tendencies have of late come to the fore. Its ways of duplicity in dealing with India, know no bounds.

Just on the eve of the 13th round of sluggish boundary talks held in New Delhi, China toned down its usual anti-India rhetoric, signalling a ‘desire’ to adopt a ‘friendlier diplomatic approach’ towards India. The People’s Daily, official organ of the Communist Party of China, in its editorial praised India’s role, suggesting that Sino-Indian relations had advanced in an all-round way, and the two countries ‘complemented’ each other.

Yet, intriguingly enough, an article, which appeared on a semi-official Chinese website, talked of ‘balkanization’ of India into several regions. It has directed China to ‘back’ the aspiration of Tamils, Nagas, Assamese and Kashmiris for their respective Indian states. The malicious article, published by a think tank, under the pseudonym of Zhan Lue (or strategy), has called upon the Chinese leadership to encourage Bangladesh to give a push to the independence of West Bengal.

“ ….China in its own interest and the progress of whole Asia, should join forces with different nationalities like Assamese, Tamils, and Kashmiris and support the latter in establishing independent nation states of their own, out of India”, the article said. It is just a wishful thinking of the opium eaters. China disingenuously maintains that it abides by the Panchsheel; the five principles of peaceful coexistence. And this is China’s method of establishing peace and tranquillity in the region.

The article was actually posted on the website (International Institute for Strategic Studies) on April 8, but seems to have been deliberately circulated just to coincide with the boundary talks, with a specific purpose.

As if it was not enough to malign India, our decorated Navy Chief, Admiral Suresh Mehta has in an awkward statement embarrassed the nation that India neither has the “capability nor the intention” to match China’s military strength.” He minced no words in extending support to China, when he elaborates: “Common sense dictates that India need to cooperate with China, rather than confront it……Co-operation with China would be preferable to competition or conflict, as it would be foolhardy to compare India and China as equals…”. Such a diatribe has no sense in military parlance. Even during1962 war with China, no one had the gumption to make such nonsensical utterances, when India was literally bereft of weapons.

The border dispute has been deliberately kept hanging for two decades like bird albatross. Tangible results are not in sight. Primarily, China is not interested to resolve the vexed issue, having grabbed huge chunks of our territory. Mutual trust is lacking. After the conclusion of the talks on August 8, both sides just expressed ‘satisfaction at the progress being made through the special representatives’ mechanism, and reiterated that pending the settlement of the boundary issue, peace and tranquillity should be maintained in our border areas’.

Notwithstanding the fact that the People’s Daily and its sister publication Global Times in a June article were highly critical of India for ‘marshalling military moves’ along the Arunachal Pradesh borders with China, Beijing’s special representative at the talks, Dai Bingguo has said that ‘China takes a positive view of India’s development and progress and supports a bigger role for India in International areas’. But in actual terms it is far from truth.

China has been opposing India’s claim as a permanent member to the UN Security Council. It also attempted to block the Asian Development Bank’s funding for Arunachal Pradesh. Our ‘friendly foe’ has been raising feverish pitch on Arunachal Pradesh. As per Article seven of the agreement, signed between the two countries in 2005, it was stated that “in reaching a boundary settlement, the two sides shall safeguard due interests of their settled populations in their border areas”. It is now openly questioning the very existence of India as a unified and sovereign nation. It wants to change India’s demographic character.

Strategic Affairs analyst Brahma Challaney has described the sassy article as a “PR spiel ahead of the boundary talks…..keeping India engaged in endless and fruitless border talks is a key Chinese objective, so that Beijing in the meantime can change the Himalayan balance decisively in its favour through accumulation of military power and greater infrastructure development”.

Just before the talks, the Chinese Ambassador in New Delhi Zhang Yan had said that Sino-Indian relations had ‘advanced in a fast pace way in recent years’ This is in contrast to earlier vituperative language used to undermine India, which said: “another big Asian country, India, is frustrated that China ‘s rise has captured much of the world’s attention”.

Talks on the dispute have been going on for 20 years now. Beijing does not have any inclination to accept that Sikkim is part of India. It continues to claim Arunachal Pradesh as part of Tibet, which it has taken by force. Now China is making incursions into the Indian Ocean. In league with the US, China wants to control half of the globe. Ipso facto, the neighbouring country is trying to takeover the role of the erstwhile imperialists. China’s relationship with India remained on a low key since 1962.

The relations remained sore till then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi took a bold initiative in December 1988, to kick off confidence-building measures. The aim was to resolve the border dispute. Detailed discussions were held with the Chinese leadership, under Deng Xiaoping. The two sides agreed to resolve the dispute through peaceful negotiations. Later Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao carried the talks forward. It was agreed that ‘neither side shall use or threaten to use force against the other’, and pending an everlasting solution to the problem, both sides shall strictly respect the Line of Actual Control.

China’s role in the autonomous region of Xinjiang has been abysmal. The region has undergone vast demographic changes. Recently, the region, dominated by Uighur Muslims, was embroiled in race riots, resulting in 150 deaths. An uprising in western Xinjiang around Kashgar in 1990 was put down swiftly with an iron hand. There were pro-independence protests in China in 1997, which led to bloodshed. But the spark of democracy will never extinguish. Uighurs, natives of Xinjiang, have been reduced to minority. Their land, religion and traditions have been swamped by decades of Han immigration. Like Tibetans, Uighurs feel colonized. China is far from stable. China sees 100,000 protests every year. Regional disputes have become common.

Astonishingly, China raised the issue of Tawang in 2005 and started giving ‘higher profile’ to its claim on Arunachal Pradesh, which is an integral part of India. In spite of an agreement to maintain peace, the Chinese forces have been violating the Line of Actual Control and intruding into Indian territory, in the Eastern and Western sectors. China had agreed with then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2003 that Sikkim is part of India. China had also depicted it on the maps too. But now there seems a u-turn in its policy shift towards India. The bilateral trade with China is disadvantageous to India. The latter has to push through its economic policies at speed haste, vis-à-vis China. We need not look dwarfish before the ‘bumpkin’.

- Asian Tribune -