Shailesh Kumar, National Defence
New Delhi, 05 June 2018
Indo-China relations unambiguously hinges on five major issues. Both the nations must keep engaging each other and surely mutual trust and confidence will thrive.
China’s foreign policies, some of historic origin and some instituted recently, especially in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) have been inimical to national interests of India and many other littoral states. There are five main bilateral issues that have always stood out as contentious from an Indian perspective.
First is China’s stand on Pakistan-based terrorist groups. China has unequivocally stated its opposition to all kinds of terrorism as its national policy. However, its stance on the issue of Pakistan-aided terrorism within India is completely opposite to this. Indian considers this as a direct anti-India stance and finds this bind support to Pakistan inexplicable. Despite the increased ingress of Islamic militants to Xingiang province of China, China does not oppose Pakistan on terrorist groups operating from Pakistani soil.
Second is the question of the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) aligned through Pak Occupied Kashmir, where China’s stand is inexplicable. Again China’s position on a nation’s and territorial integrity is very clear and formally stated. However, since the CPEC is being built in disputed territory, India has objected to the initiative. China is completely dismissive of India’s concerns and position, a stance that is totally opposite to its stated policies on territorial integrity. This is also seen as an anti- India position that is deliberately being assumed by China.
Third is China’s attitude towards the border disputes with India. China has resolved its border disputes with most of the neighbours except India and Bhutan. China, at its convenience, brings out border disputes to destabilise the status-quo and aims to create mid to long term instability in the regions.
Fourth is China’s renaming of Arunachal Pradesh, indisputably an integral part of India, as South Tibet and claiming it as Chinese territory is such a ploy. If the Chinese claims are to be considered as credible, then will it not be legitimate for India to review its policy towards Tibet, annexed by China in the 1950? Chinese moves must be closely watched.
Fifth sticking point in the relationships moving forward on an even keel is China’s unwavering opposition to India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The only reason that can be attributed to this opposition is a totally negative viewpoint that China assumes and its inherent anti- India position. Containment of India from becoming a more powerful state is written large in China’s repeated refusal to permit India to join the NSG.
What is the way forward? Surely India must engage with China and must guard its interest. China and India must engage and come to permanent solution addressing all the five issues which has direct bearing on bilateral relations as there is sure need to build mutual trust and confidence.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal and web channel, National Defence.