Every now and then, there are reports in the media that China is yet again acting belligerently and trying to threaten or belittle India. The most recent is the one where soldiers of the Chinese army seem to have infiltrated about 10 kilometers inside the Line of Actual Control in the Ladakh region. Many "nationalistic" media outlets have gone ballistic and are reporting as if the Fifth Horseman is knocking at the doors. I am no lover of the current Chinese regime and I think that the ruling elite of China has many members who are so jingoistic that they are convinced that the era of the Middle Kingdom has once again arrived. Looking at it dispassionately, one would think that China is a "new" Big Power that is merely testing the limits of its power projections-both economic and military. But I can't but help laugh at our media when it projects these moves as a precursor to confrontation or even war. Come on guys, get of your delusional high horses!
Lets imagine that China is actually a future enemy of India, or a current one if you believe some motormouth TV anchors. If China is indeed an enemy, how have we as a nation prepared ourselves to face the enemy? This is where I start laughing. The Chinese economy is so far ahead of India that it would take a generation of shared leadership between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi to even dream of catching up. In terms of human development indicators, it would take two generations of shared leadership between Sonia Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav and Mamata Banerjee to even dream of catching up. And the less we talk about the military the better. Don't have doubts: the Chinese are as corrupt as Indians. But while our military remains crippled by lack of modern weapons and technology because of repeated scams, the Chinese just go ahead and buy it. We carp about China creating a string of pearls around India by befriending nations like Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. But in each case, India lost out because it gave more importance to moral posturing than national interests. Most important, China has relentlessly pursued energy sources across the world while we Indians have remained crippled by a craven ruling elite. So if you really think China is an enemy guys, start preparing for your Green Cards for you will probably be the first to exit India in the unthinkable event of a war.
Now lets bet down to a more common sense approach that China is neither a friend nor a foe. It is one or the other depending upon the "strategic" circumstances. The two big Imperial powers that have dominated the world for the last three centuries- England and the United States- have always tried their damned best to ensure another Power doesn't emerge on the horizon to threaten their "strategic interests". England never allowed Germany and poor Japan was no match for America despite Pearl Harbor. Inevitably, the new Big Power China would like to do what other Big powers have done in the past. But now does India react to it? Surely by accepting that petulance cannot be an excuse for foreign policy. I think India has many, many options. All it needs to do-like China- is to profess endless commitments to peace and goodwill and simultaneously cultivate relations with all Asian nations who feel threatened by China. And do that in a manner that China gets the message.
But I guess that will be expecting too much of our ruling elite.