20 Sep 2014
Contrary to popular perception, this writer considers President Xi Jinping’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to have ended in disaster. China got everything it sought. India got nothing it needed. China toyed with the Indian PM as a tiger would with a rabbit. But Beijing’s strategy was so subtle that our so-called experts in the foreign ministry and security establishment do not know how they were taken for a ride. President Xi came after Mr Modi’s visit to Japan. The leverage earned by India through cooperation with America in the oceans and with Japan in business and security was squandered. During Mr Modi’s Japan visit the Chinese media and officials were announcing a $ 100 billion investment by President Xi to dwarf Japan’s $ 35 billion. With the capitulation displayed by Prime Minister Modi on all substantive issues President Xi offered only $20 billion. There was no need to buy India’s cooperation. It was already bought
Coinciding with President Xi’s visit was incursion by Chinese troops in Ladakh. President Xi is Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission and his wife is Major General in the People’s Liberation Army. It would be foolish to think the troops encroached without his blessing. This manoeuvre was adopted to test Indian will. At the extreme level India could have threatened cancellation of visit. Or at least India could have been blunt in the talks about Beijing’s policies threatening India’s national security. India was silent. The joint press conference of the two leaders at the end of talks was laughable.
Newspapers reported that the PM took a tough stand on the border. Really? How? He demanded that the Line of Actual Control (LAC) be clarified. For umpteen years meetings between both nations have continued to address the border dispute.
President Xi remarked that such incidents can always happen and should be settled peacefully. To end the controlled Chinese manoeuvre on the border the Chinese troops withdrew. Hurrah! We are moving towards peace. How does this change the status quo? The drama on the Ladakh border and indeed the entire issue on the LAC was a lollipop for the Indian public. The real concerns of this nation were ignored.
Did Mr Modi demand why Beijing continues to claim Arunachal Pradesh despite its written undertaking given in 2005 to not disturb any settled population while discussing the boundary dispute? No he did not. Did Mr Modi demand why Beijing arms Pakistan with nuclear weapons and missiles aimed against India? No he did not. Did Mr Modi demand why Beijing arms other SAARC neighbours to encircle India? No he did not. Did Mr Modi mention that Taiwan, Tibet and Xingjian are all disputed territories between Beijing and the inhabitants of these regions, and that unless Beijing stops meddling in Pakistan and other nations India will change its policy towards these territories? No he did not. Did Mr Modi ask why Beijing provides sanctuary and arms to anti-India insurgents and separatists? He did not.