Posts Tagged ‘Chahbahar’

The Chinese Premier Li Keqiang honored Indians with a visit, his first international foray after he assumed charge. Once the Beijing imageeuphoria has died down, one is likely to find solace in the fact that both China and India have the courage of conviction to put all matters on the table and to try to thrash them out. Rhetoric apart, one also hopes that the Indian government shall nevertheless set in motion a long-term strategic plan to handle the game of Chinese Checkers that our northern neighbor plays with us.

The Chinese Premier is absolutely right that our two nations are destined to be together. But good words sometimes convey only pious intentions and do not get converted into positive ground realities. An entire state of India, Arunachal Pradesh, is claimed by China. Even at a forum like the ADB, loans for developmental works in Arunachal Pradesh have been scuttled at China’s behest. Zangmu and other dams are being planned on the Brahmaputra, with no participation by India which is a lower riparian state. India’s claim for a seat in the UN Security Council is not getting supported by China. Its stand on Kashmir touches a very sensitive chord amongst Indians and its support for Pakistan is an added thorn in the flesh.

If China is said to be working on a ‘string of pearls’, India is no less capable of creating an ivory necklace around itself, so it Rashtrapati Bahavanwould not be taken lightly by China. Maintaining better relations with other neighboring countries, backed by investments in strategic assets, is a singular step in that direction. The government has already shown imagination in going in for the development contract for Chahbahar port in Iran. Many more initiatives of this nature need to be followed through.

We surely need better highways within India. But our top priority has to be building up our border defense muscle. This can only be deferred at our own long-term risk and peril. The humiliation of 1962 is difficult to forget and so is the recent arm-twisting in Ladakh.  

At times, our innate sense of decency is taken to be a sign of weakness. Sure enough, India needs to far more proactive rather than just being reactive to Chinese manoeuvres, militarily or otherwise.

With due respects to the leader who is an honored guest, allow me to say that we need to judge countries not by what their leaders say but by what they actually do.

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