THE BLOG

Here Are Signs That The NSG Saga Has Changed How India Deals With China

25/08/2016 8:51 AM IST | Updated 05/09/2016 8:30 AM IST
NEW! HIGHLIGHT AND SHARE
Highlight text to share via Facebook and Twitter
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently visited India where he met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj.

The anticipated agenda of Yi has been preventing India from joining other countries in raising the controversial issue of South China Sea during the upcoming G20 meeting in early September.

Going by recent heated exchanges, India is unlikely to take a stance that will in any way help Beijing's cause.

Recently, India refused to renew the visas of three journalists from the official Chinese news agency Xinhua after reports that the scribes met members of the Tibetan community under fake names. This is a first for India, especially given the fact this was almost a direct confrontation with Xinhua -- an organization so important that its premises are used as the official residence for Chinese in countries without Chinese embassy.

The 2016 annual Malabar naval drill featured Japan as a permanent member in waters south of the Okinawa Prefecture. The action is a bolder stance vis-à-vis China...

While this may not be directly in retaliation to China's blocking of India's bid for a membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the experience has certainly has a role in causing India to recalibrate its strategy for dealing with its adversaries, especially China.

With the NSG setback, India, which aspires to a global leadership role, knows it needs to reiterate its image as a bold and strong player on the world stage.

Signs are visible already.

Posture at LAC

India recently deployed T-72 Tanks in Ladakh, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) demarcating the border with China in Jammu and Kashmir, decades after the 1962 India-China War. It's a move that Beijing has duly noted.

While the official Chinese statement responded by referring to the need to abide by border pacts to maintain peace, its media reacted sharply. An article in the state-run Global Times went on to state that the positioning of "100 Indian tanks" near the Indo-China border has grabbed potential Chinese investors' attention who as a consequence might "weigh the threat of political instability before making investment decisions."

Reports have it that the Indian Army is about to induct a Block III version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile along the Himalayas. The Chinese army is said to have reacted by stating that India deploying supersonic missiles on the border poses a serious threat to China's Tibet and Yunnan provinces.

Multilateral collaborations

The 2016 annual Malabar naval drill featured Japan as a permanent member in waters south of the Okinawa Prefecture. The action is a bolder stance vis-à-vis China in three ways:

1. The inclusion of Japan has been a move India avoided for long in fear of upsetting China

2. It was observed "close to waters Beijing considers its backyard."

3. India's contingent on their way to the drill stopped in the Philippines and Vietnam as a show of its naval might at a location close to China.

China was visibly discomfited by the presence of Indian Navy ships in the South China Sea.

In addition, in a bid to exploit forces that counter China, the Indian Navy Eastern Fleet recently visited Port Kelang, Malaysia, as part of its overseas deployment to the North West Pacific holding the first-ever "Table Top" exercise on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) with the Royal Malaysian Navy.

China was visibly discomfited and objected to the presence of Indian Navy ships in the South China Sea. Malaysia, a claimant in the South China Sea, may also import India's BrahMos missile.

International wins

Two international wins will transform India's place in the world and how great powers like China deal with it:

1. As a 35th member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) India will participate in the next plenary meeting in October 2016 as part of the decision-making process for governing the global missile and space development. Interestingly, China is not a member yet.

2. The push to develop the Chabahar port, which opens up direct access to the Middle East, Central Asia and Afghanistan for India. As a Chinese editorial said, Chabahar is New Delhi's comprehensive scheme to reshape its geopolitics in the northwest and the Middle East, Central Asia and the Trans-Caucasus.

While New Delhi has always been on China's watch list, Beijing had kept India under a second level scanner. Chinese policy makers have always seen India as a reluctant player in the world stage, and as incapable of taking any hard decisions.

That Beijing is noticing the gradual transformation in India's stance is evident from the sudden slew of more explicit reactions from China.

Going forward Beijing may intensify its involvement in South Asian affairs -- especially in matters that are sticky for India.

Beijing, for the first time made direct comments on the unrest in Kashmir. The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang expressed "concern" about the situation in Kashmir. This is noteworthy as China has so far avoided commenting on Jammu and Kashmir issues.

India needs to stay vigilant, meanwhile. Going forward Beijing may intensify its involvement in South Asian affairs -- especially in matters that are sticky for India.

The article was first published in BBC Hindi

Benefits Of These 9 Super Indian Spices

More On This Topic