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HomeOPINIONIt’s about time India nailed Chinese lies

It’s about time India nailed Chinese lies

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Photo: Ali Yahya /Unsplash

The unprovoked exchange of fire between Indian and Chinese forces in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh resulted in spilling of blood on both the sides. The Indian Prime Minister has rightly cautioned that any more provocation would be met with appropriate response. India is not a weak nation. She is capable of meeting every threat. China also confirmed heavy casualties on its side but sued for peace.

The Indian intelligentsia is demanding retaliation. Some of them have claimed that this has exposed China’s nefarious intents. The screaming in India is natural considering the rude shock of the betrayal in October 1962 by China and unprovoked intrusion in the Himalayan region to fortify its claim for redrawing the borders. It came as a shock as only few months earlier the Chinese premier Chou En Lai had chanted in Hindi “Hindi Chini bhai bhai” at a public rally in Delhi. It was an anti-climax to Nehru’s efforts to draw out China from its isolation shell. The Chinese emperor had destroyed all ships owned by Chinese sea adventurers in 17th century to prevent their use for seafaring to other lands lest foreigners may be tempted to call on Chinese ports. The visiting adventurers from Britain and Portugal had to fight to establish their presence in Hong Kong and Macau.

Most European empires had to liberate their satellite colonies by liberating them immediately after the World War II as the Great War had crippled them to sustain burden of managing their settlements. America and the Soviet Union emerged as Super Powers dividing the world in two camps, the Capitalist camp headed by America and the Soviet Union leading the anti-capitalist camp. Even though China gained liberation from the hegemony of Chang Kai Shek and adopted the Communist ideology for ruling the largest populated land, it preferred to remain isolated instead of accepting Russian bloc. The heavy defence fortification on both sides along the Sino Russian borders indicated not only lack of confidence but also everlasting suspicions of both for each other.

Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru sought to drag China in the Non-aligned bloc and ensure that China did not join the Soviet bloc. From the Bandung conference onwards, China did not formally become part of third neutral bloc; but kept away from the Communist bloc. The 1962 betrayal of India by China remains a mystery as India did not pose a threat to China. Nehru’s intense dislike of Capitalism was well known. This was the reason why India did not move closer to the Russian bloc till December 1964 when the Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri signed the first defence supplies pact seven months after Nehru’s death. More mysterious was sudden withdrawal of the intruded Chinese forces on 14th day even though neither of two superpowers had moved even inch to assist India. The 1962 humiliating incidence sowed seeds of suspicions forever in Indian minds.

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Meanwhile the chairman Mao could not expedite the pace or spread of economic growth through his tyrannical solutions. His successor realized futility of the closed-door economy in increasing growth pattern. In a 1979 visit to America he could sense the desperation of big capital preparing to flee for cheaper labour and services outside as new laws to better life conditions of American work force had sliced away their profit margins heavily. The global economy concept was finalized to make the escape easy with a great cause of ending poverty in the third world. Deng offered protection to private enterprises willing to exploit the assured cheap labour and service that the Communist regime in China has on offer.

To the big capital in America or in other developed nations, other democracy was not acceptable venue. It led to transformation of the Chinese economy at unabated pace for two decades though most of the produce was only for export and not for home consumption. China did not have middle class with purchasing power as India has. But India has even the lower class consuming small cottage industry product but also has mentality to go for cheaper products without ensuring durability. Neither consumers nor traders showed concern for the entailing consequences for artisans and their economies. The pride for India make was missing.

It was huge market for smuggling in such products to maintain lower prices by avoiding Indian taxes. By 2000 Indian markets began to get flooded with goods meant for lower class. The price factor made India made goods not preferable to render few million artisans and self-employed to be unemployed. Neither traders nor customers were worried over the worrisome impact of their preference for smuggled Chinese goods.

After the policy change by the government with shift in treating the communication sector from revenue earning service to social development instrument, demand for mobile connections began rising at rapid pace without the government or industrial leaders even thinking of manufacturing instruments in India and thus leaving field open to China and South Korea to capture huge market. Now intellectuals are howling demand for ban on Chinese make of mobile phones. Obviously they were not wise to heavy burden on imports of instruments or of denial of job opportunities for production in India.

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China was not content with trade aggression through surreptitious routes. It wanted a larger piece of Indian cake by undertaking larger projects that could be visible symbols of its development of science and technologies on its own ability and not due to borrowing or copying technologies from the West. India is an open nation unlike China and many nationalities have open access to India. Hence it wanted to convert Indian projects done by China to be displays of Chinese abilities.

The President Xi Jinping came rushing to hold hands of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in power seat through unprecedented turn of politics in 2014. He landed at Ahmadabad to be escorted to the Sabarmati Ashram and sit as NaMo desired in the swing that Mahatma Gandhi had enjoyed in his leisure. But even that was not to prove enough to satisfy Narendra Modi and confidently hand over his dream venture of the bullet train project.

The 1962 episode stands in the path of India developing confidence in the real motives and intents of China. Only party in power and the person in the chair have changed and not the Indian mentality. Smaller traders may tolerate economic aggression but it does not mean every Indian sells its soul for few farthings.

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Vijay Sanghvi
Vijay Sanghvi
Political Commentator and Analyst Vijay Sanghvi, 81 has created a niche for himself as a seasoned media person with proven credentials and political, economic and social analyst since 1962. Sanghvi worked for five years in Mumbai for Gujarati papers before shifting to Delhi and continued to work for various dailies in Gujarati, Marathi, Hindi and English as well as for international media. He has many newsbreaks to his credit as well as inside view of many epoch making events. He covered parliamentary proceedings from 1967 till 2007.


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